Sooo in John chapter 3 right… This is how I started a text message with one of my friends this past week… There was a religious leader named Nicodemus who was talking to Jesus and somewhere in the conversation Jesus tells Nicodemus he needs to be born again to enter into the kingdom of God. I’m going to paraphrase the conversation: Nicodemus: Obviously, you’re from God. You do and say things no one has ever said or done. Jesus: (Slightly changing the subject) No one can enter into the kingdom of God without being born again. Nicodemus: How do I do that?! I’m old. Jesus: Flesh births flesh; Spirit births Spirit Nicodemus: Huh?!? Jesus: Aren’t you a leader in the church? Why don’t you understand what I’m saying? We only can speak of what we know, so I get it. Basically, the only way to have eternal life is to believe in as the Son of God.
I was praying for someone and talking to God about all of my frustrations. God led me to read this passage in John 3. While reading, verse 11 caught my attention. “Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony.” Jesus is used to people questioning him. They don’t understand where he came from or who he is. He’s different from every other Jew they have encountered unto this point. This verse stuck out to me because Nicodemus, a religious leader, could not understand what Jesus was saying.
God reminded me that the person I’m praying for could not recognize me neither our situation because they can solely bear witness to what they know. I was frustrated with them because they just didn’t get it. It’s as if God was saying, How can they if they haven’t experienced what you have experienced Jasmine?
There are people in our lives that are “supposed” to know this or that about us, and they don’t. I’ve had communication blocks with non-Christians, my white friends, and men. Our life experiences are opposed as I am Christian, black, and a woman. So I know not to get frustrated in conversation because we have differing lenses.
But it can hurt when it’s someone who is supposed to know me, my parents, closest friends, etc. But the verse is still valid. These people can only speak to what they know and have seen. So no matter how much I’ve changed it doesn’t matter if they refuse to see it. They won’t “bear witness.” It doesn’t matter how much I explain, they can’t speak of it if they haven’t seen it for themselves.
This one verse has transformed the way I view several of my relationships. This verse is in line with what Maya Angelou is famously quoted as saying: When someone shows you who they are, believe them. We must see that people cannot, will not, and sometimes refuse to see us and that’s okay. God sees us. He knows everything about us and can speak to and bear witness to it all. As I work toward only caring about what God says and no one else, this is all that matters. God knows my character, he knows my heart, he knows my insides and outs. So what he speaks to and bears witness to about me is good.
God is good y’all!