Every human being sins
Sin separates us from God
God is holy and perfect, without him life is meaningless
God is life, separation from him means eternal death (the wages of sin is death)
Eternal death means going to hell
God hates sin but loves people
He is angry with a righteous anger
Jesus is the Son of God
Jesus came to earth in the form of a human child
He lived in the flesh and was tempted but did not sin
He was perfect
He was fully human and fully God
Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross
He took all our sin unto himself and accepted the penalty of sin: death
Jesus purchased us with his blood
Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, God raised him from the dead
Jesus now resides at the right hand of God awaiting Judgement Day
Jesus died because of God’s intense love for us, his creation
Those who have faith in Jesus, in the Good News, have eternal life
Jesus’ blood cleanses us of sin and therefore makes us righteous before God
Salvation (redemption from sin) is a free gift by God’s grace, not earned by man
Why do I believe this?
Throughout my life I’ve had this strange obsession with “holy”, “angels”, “heaven” and the concept of God. I was not raised in an actively Christian household nor did I attend church or go to a Sunday school. The primary school I attended taught us hymns about God but never what the hymns meant and they taught us some of the stories of the bible but not why they mattered.
Despite my lack of “Christian” teaching I still found myself in situations as a child where I would pray. I would pray to a God I didn’t know or understand because somewhere, deep inside of me, I thought he’d help me. Being a child, and a gradually weakening one at that, my desires were certainly selfish and very corrupt. Still, I prayed out of compulsion because I, quite frankly at times, did not know what else to do in my sorrow and despair.
At the age of eleven I fell ill with glandular fever; I was extremely unwell and could barely walk some days. I was in agony all the time and utterly exhausted; I was accused of lying, being useless and all that because no one could feel the pain, fatigue and head problems that ravaged my body. I hated myself, I hated my life, I hated my family, I hated my school and I wanted to die.
As time went on and the glandular fever failed to dissipate I became increasingly lonely and fearful of absolutely everything – I’d always been a shy and nervous child and regularly found myself in tears at school because I could not handle confrontation or simply couldn’t comprehend certain situations. Tears were my coping mechanism and my odd behaviour induced by the ME only made that, and the mild bullying I incurred, worse.
Eventually my school had enough and “blackmailed” me into taking anti-depressants (so my mind perceived). If I did not take the medication, they said, they would have to show the education board my attendance record. “Oh no, my parents are going to end up in jail because of me” was my immediate thought and I began to hate myself more. By this time I’d started tearing my hair out in chunks and screaming regularly in the middle of the house in random bursts out of anxiety and stress.
The bitter loneliness I felt, as I was housebound and barely had the strength to eat my dinner in the evenings let alone socialize, deepened to a stage where I would contemplate death – and then I would heave and sob with a chest-wrenching, heart-throbbing severity because I was so petrified of what would happen to me when I died. As a fifteen year old I spend a lot of time on my bed, crying hysterically because I simply did not know what to do or where to go, who to turn to or how to get out of this house, this situation, this life.
I’d been off the anti-depressants for a couple of years at that point and had been trying to make my way out of “forced” counselling sessions that were worsening my symptoms and my self-deprecation and loathing. The tasks I was set were too difficult for me, I’d fail and end up hurting myself. I’d just had enough of people accusing me of things, telling me it was all in my head and that I was useless… that I was hopeless and they gave up on me.
I didn’t understand why people hated me so much and why I had to constantly, over and over and over, tell people that I have something people can’t see but it’s real. It’s not in my imagination and I’m not making it up. I couldn’t comprehend how my own family would see me sobbing in agony and accuse me of lying. I realize now that they were terrified and I hold no ill will against them, at that time however I was beside myself with personal grief, self-pity and anxiety.
Once I hit sixteen something began to change and I started to question things, things I’d never heard of, things I’d not read about. Things would come into my head and my conscience would be defiled like a soiled children’s blanket that they clung to, unhealthy and sore to the eye. I defiled myself and gave in to every selfish thought and desire in my head.
These questions would echo louder and louder until I couldn’t contain them, I’d talk to my mother – my beloved mother, bless her absolute heart for enduring with me for so many years – but no human answer gave me peace. No one I spoke to could give me a solid foundation for life, no one I asked would either know or care to try to understand (or so it felt at that point).
By this stage I’d been using the computer for many years, the computer had been a snare to me but it also provided relief and freedom for a few minutes a day from a world full of agony and exhaustion, self-inflicted hatred and pity. I’d made friends and torn them down whenever I felt an inkling of the truth of who I was coming through. I am so… so sorry.
I kept falling into despair and clinging onto daydreams and lies to try and appease that bitter regret and harsh sorrow that kept following me everywhere. Nothing I did let me escape so I gave in to my questions and started asking “what is sin?” “is this a sin?” “is that a sin?” “why do I feel so guilty?”
On and off I’d prayed to God, still without knowing who he was, not wanting to really know who he was because I’d heard so much evil and horribleness about him. “Christians just judge people, they’re harsh and up their own backsides!” Yet gradually as I reached young adulthood I began to crave him. At the time I didn’t know it was him I craved but these questions echoed continually and at the age of eighteen I started to be severely convicted of sin. I, honestly, cannot remember much of that year but I do remember gradually changing. I softened a little and while I was still at the mercy of the tides of my emotions I had moments of stillness, moments where my daydreams would not have hold of me so much and the lies I’d strung to protect myself would lift a little.
I can remember online romantic relationships and how my thoughts and attitudes towards these people changed, how my fears would surface and become a blight on me and my character and how nothing any of these people – these individuals, these men who I truly thought I loved – nothing they said would help. Nothing gave me that satisfaction you get when you finally hear the truth and even though I was changing I was still a terrified eleven year old, accused of all sorts of things because I just couldn’t explain myself or comprehend what was happening.
While online I had plenty of friendships (and those friendships are invaluable to me, never doubt that) but I was still isolated physically. I’d seldom see a single person outside of my family unit (mum, dad, sister) in six months, leaving the house was just as rare. I was alone without anyone to teach into my cold, angry and bitter heart.
I should confess that, at that time, I didn’t appreciate my online friendships as much as I do now. I was so easily angered and frustrated at people who had truly done nothing wrong, I was so easily offended and then infatuated that I tore people to pieces and tried to fit them together in a way that I wanted them to be. If I didn’t get the answer I wanted, like a spoiled child, I would have a tantrum. I am so sorry.
At nineteen I couldn’t stand the questions and the doubt any more, I started searching the “good old internet” for help. I asked about sin, that big, big, big topic that nagged me and followed me for years. Then something hit me…
Other people are asking about this. Other people know about this. I found a website with every single question I had ever wanted to ask. Funny that. I read about God, about Jesus, about what he did for us… I read about the bible and what exactly it was and how people could justify and prove it. I read about the historical facts and the artefacts.
Admittedly after this point my mind is a little mixed up as to when things happened…
I wanted to know more so I bought a bible, an English Standard Version – I opened it at the Psalms and was very confused “is this a hymn book? A pew bible?”, I didn’t think it was the whole thing so I bought another one instead… a King James Version… and I decided to read from start to finish (I can see mature Christians facepalming and hear their “oohhhs…” of pain now). Needless to say, still in a fragile state, I got very upset and frustrated. I was kindly and gently reminded of my Christening gift from my grandparents, “365 Bible Stories for Children”, so I looked for it, found it and started reading it. “One story a day”, I thought, “that’d be a good start, get myself acquainted with who people are”... I was hooked instantly and read it all very quickly.
Eventually I found a bible that worked for me, a New Living Translation and I started by reading the New Testament on Sundays. Gradually that increased and I studied a lot online…
I also eventually realized that everything I had done prior to my twentieth birthday had offended God. I could not stand that thought, this magnificent being who created me and died for me – I’d offended him. I was immediately broken and sobbed in repentance; I confessed I had sinned and that I believed in the Good News of Jesus. I asked for help from the only one who could mend my shattered heart.
After all of this, all the tears and the years of absolutely detesting every breath that left my body I anticipated change, I’d read about the Holy Spirit and that he changes us and while I kept stumbling a lot at first and making the same mistakes over and over… he delivered me. He changed me, gradually, gently, piece by piece he put me together in a more suitable way.
Nowadays I don’t myself as much… I still have those moments where I want to tear at my hair and skin but, by the grace of God I resist… most of the time. I’ve finally been able to take down these things I used to place over the mirrors in my room and when I look in the mirror and feel insecure I can simply say to myself this simply truth: I am fearfully and wonderfully made, made in the image of God. He created me and he loves me.
I find peace with people now; I’ve forgiven them for their grievances against me and I’ve forgiven myself. God has healed me of the things I used to do to myself and to the pain caused by the consequences of that, as well as to the pain I inflicted upon myself because of what I experienced courtesy of others.
I love my family dearly. I really, really do – I tell them that now, it took seven years but I finally tell them I love them spontaneously. I’m still not very good with physical contact (I used to lash out quite horrendously at that and would have panic attacks at the slightest touch) but I’m getting better. I give my mother “leans” (half hugs) and accepted a touch on the shoulder from dad – most of the time. I still, unfortunately, have my moments but I can rest in knowing that Jesus is still at work in me.
As for my friends, it would seem as though I’ve lost touch with some of them. I could understand that, after the way I treated them, and I do so hope that they will come back in touch sooner or later – preferably sooner. I’d love to chat with them about things, even though I still have those times where I don’t know what to say. I’m not really so good at holding down a lengthy conversation… never have been but still, I can try.
My physical body is still grieved by the ME, I’m still severely affected and can seldom care for myself however my spirit sings and soars in the highest heavens with God my Saviour. I do not hate anymore, I am not as bitter as I was – there are still things to work on, it’s only been a year so far but I have high hopes for my future…
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says Yahweh, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
I truly believe in the word of God, the bible. I know of nothing else that can change who you are simply by reading it with an open heart, indeed I found some of what I read at first very difficult and sometimes I still do however I am reminded by the Holy Spirit – ever so gently and kindly, in love – that I need not understand all things and I need not have all the answers to live in peace, to live in prosperity with my God.
It is not an easy road to follow, being a disciple of Jesus Christ, but the relationship I now have with my Creator, my heavenly Father – for I am his child – is worth every ounce of pain and persecution. Every moment of the ME that I spend in my bed I can spend in prayer. Every time I feel those old feelings creeping back I can spend that time in prayer, bringing those things to the one who loves my very soul, knowing he hears me and will comfort me. In those times I fail – and I will fail, for I am a human being and I am flawed – I can come to him, he will forgive me and teach me.
There is a lesson to learn in every mistake and a lesson to learn in every victory.
I no longer fear death nor do I spend time in tears over my fears. God is in control, “I trust in you O Lord, I say, “You are my God”, My times are in your hands” (Psalm 31:14-15). He truly is and there is no greater love than his, no greater peace than his, no greater life than this living in Christ, knowing I am free of condemnation.
I am the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ, through his works and obedience. I did not deserve or earn any of this – God did not need me, he wanted me. The Creator of all things wanted me, in my despair, in my lack of hope and sheer desolation. He wanted me.
He wants each of us to come to him. He wants to spare us of the pain and torment of eternal death, that is why he gave his Son for us. He is the perfect Father, glorious and holy.
28 “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
In Jesus I am free of sin, I am under grace not the Law. I can spend each day in his presence, his glorious presence, knowing that “it is finished”. I am no longer defined by the ME and my hate, I am defined by my faith in Christ. I am a new creation by his grace.
There is so much to say, so much to tell and so much to show but now my time is up, for tonight. I can only type so much longer before my arms go… I am very tired, you see, and I would like to go and rest. Thankfully, so thankfully, I can do this knowing that I no longer fear my sleep or my dreams or my waking up in the morning. I want to wake up, if that is God’s will for me.
Thank you ever so much for taking the time to read this, I hope you are blessed by it and that Jesus brings you peace and deliverance from whatever – and I mean whatever – is eating at your soul.