As someone who was raised in a Christian home, stopped believing, and was ultimately saved by Jesus a few years ago, this post is one of the most relevant and accurate articles I have read.
If you love Jesus and happen to love anybody who doesn't love Jesus, this is a great piece.
Here's a snippet which actually quite describes the reason I walked away from Jesus:
"At first I pretended that my reasoning was high-minded and philosophical. But really I just wanted to drink gallons of cheap sangria and sleep around. Four years of this and I was strung out, stupefied and generally pretty low. Especially when I was sober or alone."
Those words resonate with me. The reason I walked away from God had NOTHING to do with belief. It had to do with what I wanted. I wanted to serve myself.
So I did.
And God was relentless.
Picture me, about four years ago today, drunk as a skunk (whatever that means), sitting at a bus stop with a boy I'd met in a club telling him that we couldn't have sex because I was a Christian. And him honouring that.
That was the relentless love of Jesus in my life.
Saving me from my own stupid sin.
Protecting me from my selfish ambitions.
And there were consequences and hurts, pains that required a lot of grace to heal.
But that grace also came.
Of course that grace came.
And there were key people in that season of my life that both made it better (aka pointed me to Jesus) and who made it worse (aka didn't point me to Christ).
My parents were the very best. They didn't hide the fact that they did not agree with me, but they also were kind and gracious. They never stopped loving me, and they were always ready for me to start living for Jesus again. I know that they prayed for me.
I had friends who stopped talking to me because I wasn't living for God anymore. That didn't point me to Christ. That pointed me to the friends who would accept me as I was - namely the friends who didn't love Jesus.
I had one friend, who though she didn't hang out with me as much, told me that she prayed for me everyday. I knew that she was my friend through each moment, and that really impacted me.
I remember being angry at God.
Because He kept protecting me.
I was still going to church sometimes, typically hungover from the night before. I'd quit my youth leader position because it was too hypocritical, and I'd figured out ways to hide how much alcohol I was consuming from my parents - namely I just wouldn't go home at night.
So eventually I just got to a point of being frustrated.
I decided that I would move wherever God put me and I would start living for Him again.
Because I was tired of feeling pulled between the two.
I knew I had to make a choice.
I chose grace.
It took me a while to start living for God again.
I moved cities, found the church I'm at now, and tried to get my stuff together.
It was just a typical Sunday at Westside Church, my current church, when I heard the Gospel for the first time.
The pastor talked about how there was no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, and I went up and asked him about that.
It was that truth that saved me.
The truth that God loved me and accepted me led me to love and accept Him.
It took a long time for my heart to grasp it.
To believe that there really was no condemnation.
But eventually, really slowly, I realized that Jesus loved me right that very minute.
And the next minute.
And even ten minutes before.
The love of Jesus wasn't leaving me.
And it hasn't left me.
What's your story? I'd love to hear it.