At some level we are both teachers and students simultaneously. All pain, trials, tribulations, and triumphs are so that you can learn from the experience and teach others through your experience.
There are some of us who must learn through the experience of fire, and those of us who learn through the experience of understanding. For example, we offer the same caveat to two children, "Don't put your hand over the flame, it will burn you!" The first child assesses the fire, understanding that the flame usually heats, chars, or completely burns food. He considers the warning, and understands that his hand will also burn. On the other hand, the second child also assesses the flame, but thinks he can outwit the flame by moving his hand quickly. So, he tests the flame to see how long it will take for his hand to burn. One child understands through the experience of the teacher, the other has to learn by his own unique experience. Which one are you?
It took me a long time to realize that we need both types of people. One to reiterate the pain of the experience, and one to understand through empathy so the action will not be repeated. Showing the scars of charred skin is a much more powerful deterrent than simply saying, "Don't touch the fire, it will burn you!" Jesus Christ took on both the experience and the empathy so that He could understand the plight and temptation of mankind when He spent 40 days and nights under the temptation of Satan.
So, if your life prior to becoming a Christian is somewhat violent, extreme, painful, checkered, etc., and you are afraid to tell others of your life experience prior to becoming a Christian, think about this. Will your unique experience help someone who may be in, have been in, or is on the verge of repeating a similar experience to your own, make the necessary detour to come to Christ? If so, start by telling them your story… L.
Study Reference: Hebrews 2:9-18
From: "Experience vs. Empathy." In The Master's Hands: 365 Daily Devotions For Everyday Living.
Copyright © 2014 by Lavona E. Campbell