What’s Your Narrative?

Everyone has a story to tell. Our stories are neither good nor bad; they are just our stories. However, no one has enough time in the world to tell our life stories. Rather, to get to know each other in bits and pieces, we often ask icebreaker questions. These are short, provocative questions – where did you go on your last vacation? What is your favorite book? Which person is the most influential to you – good or bad?

There is another word: narrative. It’s synonymous with “story” – an account of events or experiences, real or fictitious (source: dictionary.com). However, I suspect this word has been modified to mean something else: some people are using “narrative” to mean: telling a slanted story.

Now, I have read studies stating that even the best of us can be unreliable narrators, that over time, even our own recollections change. We are susceptible to outside suggestions. We interject our own biases, whether knowingly or unknowingly. We tend to portray ourselves in the best light, again, whether knowingly or unknowingly.

Let me illustrate. Let’s say there is a woman called Amy. At the age of four, Amy contracted childhood leukemia. For the next four years, she was in and out of hospitals for her treatment. When Amy was eight, the cancer went into remission and she was able to live a relatively normal life. Later, she became a lawyer and volunteered for the American Cancer Society. Sounds good?

What if I told this story focusing on all the negatives – that her childhood cancer treatment nearly bankrupted her parents, caused her siblings to resent her for all the attention she got, and her law firm were corporate raiders? Or that Amy volunteers at the ACS only to salve her conscience?

Which “narrative” do you want to believe?

This year, there is a major culture war raging: BLM, AntiFa, on one side – all with their narrative of history. They are Marxist, anti-God, anti-Bible, and anti-family. They have their “narrative” that they are trying to push.

I submit there is another word beside “narrative” because that’s 2020-speak. An older word I have heard is: “worldview”. This was the word I heard when I was in my first year of college. Worldview describes a comprehensive system of looking at the world.

Whether you want to use narrative or worldview, I echo what the late Ravi Zacharias would ask:

  1. Is this worldview / narrative logically consistent?
  2. Is this worldview empirically supported?
  3. Can this adequately answer the questions of Origin, Purpose, Morality, and Ultimate End?

As a Christian, the Bible shapes my worldview and gives me a different “narrative.” The Bible tells me that I was created by a good, transcendent God, but sin has entered the world and marred us. The Bible tells me that I am capable of the greatest good, and also the greatest evil. For me to be saved, Jesus, the Son of God, died on the cross 2000 years ago for all humanity – for me.

What’s more, Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to heaven. Jesus left behind instructions for the church on what to do because He was coming back. When he does return, he will set up a perfect kingdom – one that has no war, no racism, where lions can lie down with the lamb.

Does this mean I am disengaged? No. Does it mean I can overlook people’s suffering in this life? No. Does it mean I have to join every activist organization? No. Does it mean I have a different perspective? Absolutely yes. Does it mean I have hope? Yes, but only in Jesus Christ.

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