“They…came back to the King’s Highway, where they were safe and out of [the giants] jurisdiction. After they had gone over the steps at the fence, [Christian and Hopeful]began to formulate between themselves what they should do at the steps to prevent those who would come after them from falling into the hands of Giant Despair. So they decided to erect a pillar there and to engrave upon the side of it this sentence: Over these steps is the way to Doubting Castle, which is kept by Giant Despair, who despises the King of the Celestial Country and seeks to destroy His holy Pilgrims.
Many who followed after them therefore, read what was written and escaped the danger.”
A passage from Pilgrim’s Progress written by John Bunyan
I often have wondered how many people actually heed the advice of others so as to avoid a pitfall? Maybe more indirectly, how many people view the poor choices made by others and the consequences they received and from that decided not to go that direction? Knowing the high price I have paid for sinful choices, it would bring some value to that experience if others would learn from my mistake and RUN THE OTHER WAY!!!! Unfortunately, too many of us have our heads stuck in a cloud of pride and we think we are wiser and stronger than the others who have fallen, or our feet are tired from treading on the rough path we are on, such was the case with Christian and Hopeful from Pilgrim’s Progress, and another path that looks more inviting appears and seems to offer harmless relief from our current conditions only to ever so slowly turn us away from the Narrow Way and to a place we never intended to go.
Having spent much time trying to figure out an effective way to relay the hazards of the slippery slope leading to the sins I’ve committed so that others would be spared the devastating effects, I so often feel discouraged knowing that so many will only learn by their own mistakes. Although this is true, I think Satan wants us to feel discouraged so that we don’t even try to make a difference. Once we sin, or have been HAD (as Beth Moore has described it), Satan wants so much for us to feel purposeless, unloved, defeated, overlooked. (First he encourages us in our sin and then condemns us for it afterwards! He is something else.) If we do climb out of our pit of despair (and I do mean if, because so many cannot move past their failures) and realize we still have a full, rich, purpose-filled life with Christ, Satan’s next strategy will be to discourage us from trying to help others avoid the pitfalls that we fell into. He doesn’t want us to share our experiences. He wants post-sinners to feel isolated in their shame and ineffective to others and wants pre-sinners to feel alone in their struggles and gives them bite-sized excuses for giving in to sin.
That being said, although it may seem improbable that a legacy would begin with our stories we must choose to believe that God will use them and do more than we can ever ask or even imagine. So, just as Christian and Hopeful were portrayed as doing, we need to leave a Pillar by sharing our testimonies with transparency and being a witness of God’s wonderful grace.
“…he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory.”