I was born into a Christian home and although many people say that they were lukewarm Christians until the day they gave their lives to Jesus, my experience was different. I want to start out by saying that for all the years until the day I met Jesus, I was in no way a Christian. I may have had the appearance of one, but the truth was that I was a hypocrite with a rebellious heart, far away from God.
An early memory of mine is of when I was 4 years old.
A classmate asked me for a bit of my lunch, and I said, “No.” I did that, not because I was very hungry but because I could see that he seemed very helpless. I chose to say no because, in that instant, I got some strange pleasure from being able to exercise authority over someone in a demeaning way. I was not aware of it then, but that desire grew over time.
When I was 10-12 years old, I decided to specifically target girls by doing my best to make them feel low whenever I could. By creating a sense of others being inferior to me, I felt superior, and this boosted my ego. Since the girls I spoke to rarely fought back, I kept this hostility towards them up for many years without thinking twice. What is worse was, I felt no guilt.
Since I had grown to place myself and my self-esteem at the top of my priority list, what I had done was establish myself as my own god.
I knew quite a bit about God, read the Bible a lot, went to church on Sundays and yet, in my heart, I had made myself my own god to please my over-inflated ego. I further let myself believe that I knew what was best for me, and that was evident in my behaviour. Whenever an inkling of remorse would enter my mind, I would reinforce another lie; that since I am a man, I must not have feelings, that emotions are weak, and they must be pushed away.
I could not handle it when anybody bruised my pride, even if it was completely my fault. One example is when I shoved my teacher because I thought he had spoken to me disrespectfully.
I held grudges, resorted to aggression, and did many other hateful things whenever I felt that I wasn’t given the respect that was due to me.
Around the time I was thirteen, I got addicted to sexually perverse thoughts and in later years, pornography.
I took my misogyny to the next level by thinking of women as inferior, weaker people, and refusing to associate with them, to degrading them to the level of objects from which I could extract pleasure through my thoughts at night. Almost every night, I would deliberately think of girls in that way before going to sleep – these were the very same people I would meet in class the next day – not just students, but teachers as well.
There are many other aspects of my past as well, such as thinking of getting ahead in academics as a way of sticking it in the faces of all the ‘studious’ girls by telling them that since they were girls, they were bound to be dumb. In addition, when I would see my good grades, I would stubbornly tell myself that this was God’s blessings, and hence I justified my behaviour to myself.
In the next 3 years, I turned to a new addiction – video games. I spent around 30 hours a week playing games.
How was I able to carry on like this without anyone telling me to stop?
Simple – by being a hypocrite. It was not so much a conscious decision, but something that I grew into. Whenever I felt I was being watched by people who could call me out, such as my parents, sometimes teachers, and even the people at church, I would do my best to hide my true self to avoid any confrontation. When I was alone, or with just other students my age, then my most evil actions would surface.
At school, I would even justify my wrongdoings by saying that since I was a Christian, everything flies. I was badly damaging the image of Christ to the people around me.
All these factors that I willingly chose to bring into my life were used by Satan to harden my heart to my sins and to convince me that I didn’t need God.
It really felt like there was no hope for me because of the hole I had dug for myself.
But God is amazing; nobody – not even me, could stop His plans.
Just when it seemed like I would continue till the day of my death, the impossible happened – the world was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
I had refused to be still and listen to God’s voice, and God used this time to make everything else in my life stand still. I didn’t leave my house at all and a lot of the stuff that made me busy went away.
I suddenly started performing badly at school and was shaken out of my belief that academic success implied God’s favour.
I was finally ready to hear Him.
And then Jesus came on October 11th, 2020.
I can’t quite tell you that it was a complete vision, but it felt like I wasn’t sitting in my room anymore. The surroundings were a bit dark and ambiguous. I knew Jesus was right there with me, and although I can’t really say that He was just like any other person, I was sure of His presence there.
I heard Him ask me, in the gentlest yet convicting way, “What have you done with your life?”
I couldn’t find any words to respond. I felt my ego melt away, and all the guilt built up over the years entered my heart for the very first time. It was awful!
Then Jesus continued, “Are you happy with who you have become?” Everything I had done wrong in my life came to my mind, from the smallest acts of wickedness to the exceedingly large ones.
That’s when it really hit me – the severity of what I had done over the years.
I remembered how I indulged in depraved thoughts every night; how Jesus had whispered, “No” in all those moments and I had ignored Him. I felt a deep fear that I had never felt before. That I was really sentenced to death and deserved to reach hell because of my hostility towards God.
But in that moment, something…or rather, Someone, moved within me to cry out the words that changed me.
“I have sinned, have mercy on me, Jesus.”
In an instant, the guilt was lifted. I know it was Jesus who took it away. All the gloom, darkness, and death that surrounded me, all of that was dispelled. I felt different, truly different.
You may be wondering how I know that this happened for sure?
Many ways really! One is the huge difference I could see within myself now.
For the first time in my life, I genuinely want to help and serve others as much as I can.
I used to read the Bible as a duty or routine without feeling anything, but now I can perceive God specifically speaking to me through His Word whenever I read it.
One example is when I came across the story of Korah in Numbers 16, I broke into tears because I realised that although Korah rebelled against God for a much shorter time than I did, God destroyed him by opening the earth below him. Yet God allowed me to live. I couldn’t understand why, and each day I realise that I am only alive and breathing because of His mercy and grace.
Before, I knew of God but was separated from Him; but now I feel closer to Him than ever before and don’t want any distance to ever come between us.
But there’s so much more!
Before, I was addicted to video games and couldn’t go even a day without playing them; but within a month of meeting Jesus, that desire to play games just evaporated.
Before, I was misogynistic and couldn’t hold a normal conversation with a woman without degrading her in some way. But since the day Jesus touched me; I feel a genuine respect for the same women I degraded.
Before, I would watch porn often, and was addicted to having sexual thoughts about girls every single night. But in an instant, that desire to watch porn or think those thoughts have disappeared, and till today, I have not thought of them or watched those videos at all.
I am not saying this to boast because I am not responsible for any of these changes; they are all because of God and only Him.
God didn’t just make some improvements to me on the day He saved me. He made me a whole new creation.
I no longer feel any association with my old self. It is like I have a new heart, a new mind, new hands. I can now freely accept any insults thrown at me because I personally know the One whom I had hurled insults on, and yet who loved me through it all. No longer do I feel my self-worth is dependent on what I achieve or what other’s think, but purely on what God thinks about me, and I know He has adopted me as His child. I am now free to follow Him each day and become the person that He wanted me to be from the beginning.
Why am I sharing this?
It is because I want everyone to realize how great God is, and what miracles He can perform in anybody’s life, no matter how wicked or hopeless they may seem.
To those who do not yet believe in Jesus and haven’t given their lives to Him, I just want to urge you – please do so now!
I waited for more than a decade; you don’t have to wait even a minute. No matter how badly you think you may have sinned, He will forgive.
Conversely, no matter how good you may think you are at managing your own life and getting away with your sins, resisting God is futile. Turn to Him before it is too late. Call upon the name of Jesus and be saved!
This is the Good News!