Was I Really that Bad?
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. Being raised in a Christian home, and having been taught the Bible daily, I knew that I didn’t need to commit a large crime in society in order to be a guilty sinner in God’s eyes. I was born with a sin nature, and the root and motives of all my behaviors were selfishness and pride.
While learning these facts as a young person was an incredible blessing, I did not apply it to my life right away. It took time for me to personally humble myself and admit that my heart was sinful. Even as a young person I could put on a good façade to fool those around me into thinking I was good Christian.
“But there was one person I could never fool – and that was God.”
In mid-elementary school I came down with a very unique sickness. For the next two years I fought chronic pain and exhaustion throughout my entire body. It got so bad that I could barely walk or even hold a pencil. That was a very difficult time for me, though in retrospect I wouldn’t trade it for anything because God used that trial to get my attention. He started to reveal my sinful heart and show me my need for a Savior.
Before this time I had heard that Jesus died for my sins, but my sins were never a real burden to me. God used many things, including a challenging email from a long-distance friend of mine, to help me consider my spiritual condition. My friend wrote me, “Sometimes God sends trials and difficulties into one’s life to awake them to their condition before God.” These words gripped my heart and wouldn’t let go. Had God brought this illness into my life to help me turn to Him?
Toward the latter part of those difficult years our church held special services. To be honest, I would rather have stayed home that week. I had started to use my sickness as an excuse to avoid the convicting preaching at church. My dad could see that my heart had begun to grow cold to spiritual things, and he would not allow me to miss these important meetings.
“It was God’s mercy that allowed the Holy Spirit to prick my heart on Tuesday night of that week.”
As the preaching began I started to recall many verses I had memorized in years before. I wasn’t right with God. My heart was deceitful, and I knew it. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?”
As I read and listened, my sinful heart began to grow heavy with guilt as the truth of God’s Word spoke to me. The Bible says in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
I finally realized that I was living in willful rebellion against a Holy and Righteous God. I also realized the serious consequences of my sin. Romans 6:23 says that “…the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” My sin was sending me to a place of eternal separation from God in the Lake of Fire. At first I didn’t understand.
“I questioned, ‘Why would God let me go to Hell? Was I really that bad?'”
But then I saw in the Scriptures that all men were born sinners and that the God of Heaven had provided a way of salvation for every person through Christ Jesus. It wasn’t God’s desire for any one to perish, but for all to come to Him in repentance. 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness, but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
My attitude changed. I began to have a godly sorrow for my sin, and a desire to turn from it. I saw clearly what I must do next. I must have faith in God’s plan to save my soul through Jesus’ death on the cross for me. I could make my peace with God by calling out to him in prayer and confessing the secret sins of my heart.
My only hope for a purpose in this life and peace for eternity was established that September day when I saw myself for who I truly was, and completely committed my life to Christ. Since then I have grown in my love for God. I want to please Him, obey His word, and live my life as a testimony of His grace to me.
He can save you from your guilt as well. He can give you a reason to live. Have you considered your eternal destiny? Do you have a relationship with God? I challenge you to think about your life today. Find a Bible, and let God speak to you through His word. You won’t regret it!