I grew up in a Baptist home and attended the same Baptist church from infancy. I was surrounded by God’s blessings, learned all the Bible stories, and acted like a good kid for the most part. Behind the scenes, I was a really good liar, stole small items from the school’s art closet, and was verbally unkind to my siblings. But at church, I put on my good manners, and I thought that nobody could tell that I was a sinner.
As I think back to September 8, 2004, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for what happened to me on that day. It was the day that the God of heaven forgave me of my sin, and changed my life. Though some people who knew me may have considered me to be a good person, I knew in my heart that I was a sinner, and an enemy of God.
All my life, I was brought up in church. I heard preaching from God’s Word every Sunday and Wednesday. My parents loved me very much, and faithfully taught me from the Bible. I learned that Salvation means to turn my back on sin and trust completely in Jesus Christ. I learned that Hell would be my eternal destiny if I did not choose to give my life to God. All these things and more were taught to me, and I soaked it all in during my growing-up years.
Peace and acceptance is something our society always seems to be looking for and I was no exception. I grew up in a home where alcohol and fighting were common; consequently, it was a place where I did not want to be. By the time I was in my teens and early twenties, I found myself absorbed in living “life to the fullest” and searching for someone to love and accept me.
My name is Saritha Manohar, and this is my story. I was born and raised in a church going family in India and we attended church every week. There I heard interesting Bible stories at Sunday school and VBS. As a teenager I attended different churches and used to participate in youth camps, retreats and VBS. I was taught that, in order to go to Heaven, one must “be saved,” so at the age of 15, I even got baptized to please my parents. But sadly, I did not understand Bible salvation.
What if you spent your whole life believing what you thought was right, but you were wrong? You would think that after being raised going to Church on a regular basis that one might know all you need to know about the Bible. Even after attending a Christian College as a young person, I continued to stay involved at my local Church. It is what we always did.