This is my story:
Call me Red. My real first name is Redeem-Mel. I was born on the twelfth of April, 1989, the first fruit of my parents’ love. My father is a pastor, hence the name Redeem, a common theological expression. My childhood was mostly spent braving the rigors of Sunday School and yes, Sunday School teachers, sixty minutes sermons at church (where you have to spend the entire minutes sitting straight), sermons at home, and stories about Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, and Jesus. Nevertheless, I enjoyed little things too, like being the favorite kid in church, first honors at school, and fine gifts from church members. But those pleasures and provisions did not stop me from being a self-righteous, self-pitying, spoiled sinner who loved to be seen singing on the church stage for the Savior. Actually, I was a rebel inside.
Living under constant surveillance from Christians friends around, I managed to act two roles in one play. I always find myself laughing inside when people tell me how they wish their child was like me. Little did they know that I was just as the same as the rest of us–lost in translation.
The teenage chapter of my life has the most unforgettable moments I had. But it also holds the lowest point in my life. It covers the dreadful memories I wish I could erase completely out of my head. It holds my darkest secrets: my struggle with sexual abuse, homosexuality, and addiction to pornography. Stored in it were the bottles of tears from my personal regrets and my parents heartaches and disappointments. It carries the line-of-seven grades, the shame I brought to my father and family as a whole, my thoughts of suicide and the losing search for self-redemption. All this, buried in under a dark room and no one had the clue how rotten I was to the core. Yet, still I was able to sit in the front pew, raise my hands in praise, bow my head in prayer, go forward in altar calls, volunteer as a youth worker, study in a Bible college and behave like a good old believer. I was a self-righteous, self-pitying, spoiled sinner who loved sinning and be seen singing on the church stage more than the Savior.
I had “accepted” Christ countless times–during a Sunday school class, a VBS class, at a couple of camps, after a sermon–that I have lost track of when and what was genuine. Quite honestly, most of those professions were just ploys to be liked or most likely, results of an emotional message. But after a week from those professions, I was back at my old self. That old self-righteous, self-pitying, spoiled sinner who loved sinning and be seen singing on the church stage more than the Savior. This had become a cycle for me for years and brought doubts to where do I really belong–heaven or hell.
One day, I found myself all alone in my room, struggling with my doubts and my sins. I became so disgusted of myself that I concluded I am bound for hell. Browsing the Internet in search for assurance of salvation, I came to an online Gospel tract. I began reading it and a verse hit me on the forehead:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:23-26 NASB).
What happened after that was something I could not rightly describe. Not only was I assured of His love, I was also convicted of my pathetic quest for self-righteousness. Tears streamed down my face that day knowing how great what God has done for sinners like me and for the joy that a great burden was lifted off my shoulders. I realized it was not I who was searching for my redemption. It was God who found me. On the twenty-second day of June, 2011, three months after my twenty-second birthday, I surrendered my self-righteousness to Jesus Christ.
The life I live now is far from perfect. I was never perfect. But I would never use it as an excuse for not getting real. Knowing that it is God who justifies, I gave up trying to be righteous on my own. Sometimes my past overtakes me. Sometimes I fall. But the grace that God has given is always full. From the day I put my faith in Jesus Christ to the day I was assured again, His grace is the same, like rain steady, saturating.
Yes, I was a self-righteous, self-pitying, spoiled sinner who loved sinning and be seen singing on the church stage more than the Savior. Yes, there is a dark and vivid shadow in my past. “There are some things that time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep…that have taken hold.” But there’s nothing to be ashamed now. Just like what Paul said, “because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day” (1 Timothy 1:12 NIV).
God saved me from my past to prepare my present for the future. Jesus is that future. He is worth sharing to and worth living for. Will you join me?
|| It is my prayer that through my story, you’ll find the greatest story on earth: the birth, life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. And in knowing His story, that you would allow Him to write the rest of your life’s story for His glory and for your joy. God loves you. He wants you to come to Him and spend your eternity with Him. Repent of your sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.