Try this. Right now, wherever you’re at, tap out the beats to “Happy Birthday.” Are you singing the song in your head? Me too.
Now, ask yourself, “Would most people guess the song based on your beats?” It’s such a well known song, so you can probably imagine others guessing the song fairly quickly.
However, according to research conducted at Stanford University, listeners will guess the correct song only 2.5 percent of the time. The really interesting part is that the person tapping out Happy Birthday thinks that the listener will get the song right 90 percent of the time.
Why is this? It’s due to what is called the curse of knowledge. The curse of knowledge is when “we know something, we find it hard to imagine what it’s like not to know it.” * The person tapping “Happy Birthday” is singing the song in their head and so its difficult for them to imagine that the other person does not know what the song is. They don’t know what its like not to know.
Many Christians are affected by the curse of knowledge when it comes to sharing the Gospel. We forget what its like not to know the immense difference God has made in our lives. Christians fail to share the Good News because we forget what its like to experience the power of His story.
More than that, we forget the power of our own story that God has given us. Since we can’t imagine what it’s like to not know God’s love, we look at our story and can’t imagine someone getting anything out of it. Doubt begins to cast its long shadow over our testimony, diminishing it to a powerless tale. Because of the curse of knowledge, we forget how much power our story really has.
We must remember what it’s like to hear Christ’s love for the first time. We must remember the power that God has given each of our stories. We must remember that our story isn’t about us, it’s about God.
If our testimony, our story was about us, then we have plenty of reason to believe that it doesn’t have power. But because our story is about Christ, it has the power to radically transform lives. It is because of Christ’s love for us, that was demonstrated by sacrificing himself on the cross because of our broken and messy lives, that our stories have power. It’s because of His death and resurrection that we are free of condemnation and can live with Him forever. The Gospel had the power to change our lives and so it has the power to change others’ lives through your story.
Have you every played with Diet Coke and Mentos? Toss a couple Mentos in a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke and RUN!! A powerful reaction ensues that causes the Diet Coke to explode high into the air. It doesn’t take much to cause this spout of soda, just a couple small mints. We may look at our story like Mentos. It seems small and insignificant. But the truth is, we don’t realize the power of our story. The story God has gives us through the Gospel has tremendous power within it.
Someone out there is waiting to hear about God’s love through your story. You are fully capable, as His follower, to share the story God has given you. Remember that there is power in your words, because it’s His story in your life. I challenge you to share the Gospel this week, even if doubt is lingering. When you do, get ready for God to transform lives right in front of you.
*From “The Curse of Knowledge” by Chip and Dan Heath. Harvard Business Review. April 26, 2016