The first 10 or so years of my Christian experience I grew in Biblical understanding as defined by Evangelicalism and outward appearance would indicate that I was a “pharisee of pharisees’. Inside, I knew better and with each passing day I had to try harder and do more in order to make God happy with me. I was involved in so much because that is what a Christian is supposed to do. Dying to self meant rejecting anything not “spiritual” and that included secular music, much of television, movies ( I remember our pastor at the time asking a group of us how we would feel if Jesus came back for us and we were sitting in a movie theater). Everything was either good or evil, black and white…no gray. It was easy then to become proud of my accomplishment of staying on the narrow path, and even easier to condemn others for “backsliding” into sin or the spiritually blind for not seeing the truth.
But inside I was coming apart. I knew God was angry with me because I wasn’t living up to the standard of holiness and righteousness He demanded. Finally, I had a spiritual breakdown. I could no longer pretend and I let everything out to a Christian friend. All the struggles, sins, weaknesses, failures that I had hidden from others in the church. I thought he would reject me, just as I had believed God rejected me. I was wrong.
For the first time I felt God’s unconditional love through the acceptance of a friend. And that defining moment of sitting in his living room on a cool autumn evening with a person who loved me as I was, changed the whole focus of my walk with God.
Grace, forgiveness, mercy and God’s love became real to me and since that time it is THE message I proclaim because it is the Gospel. I was freed from the false gospel permeating much of Evangelicalism and my passion is to see others freed too. I have come to truly see that the center of it all is Jesus not me.
I have nothing to offer God, I cannot be good enough. I never will be good enough. I echo the words of the apostle Paul…”Oh I am an evil, wicked man, who will save me from myself? Thank God for Jesus Christ for now that I am in Him there is now no longer any condemnation, I am free.
Sadly, it is at times like swimming against the current of a fast-moving river. I have been accused of being an unbeliever, a liberal, a heretic, and yes even an anti-christ. Some in the church have hurt me more than anyone outside the church walls could ever do. I thought of leaving the church. The Holy Spirit wouldn’t let me…..
I hope this gives you a little insight. Enough about me!