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Stories of Lives Liberated

Ben

Ben

Once hopelessly depressed and angry at a God I didn’t believe in. Now redeemed and transformed by the God who does, in fact, exist.

 

Who I Was Before Christ

I grew up in a barely-religious home. My parents divorced when I was 8, and I never went to church with my mom, but my dad took us to Catholic church on Christmas and Easter and a few other Sundays. The philosophy at home was basically the golden rule: treat others how you would like to be treated. I sensed that God was irrelevant to that idea, so I dismissed Him. Over time, I grew hostile to the idea of God and wouldn’t have anything to do with Him. Through most of my childhood and teen years, I was hopelessly depressed. My friends were jerks (…so was I), and my family was broken, so pain was pretty much the norm. And as much as I tried to forget it, I knew that life was meaningless, and my attempts to make it feel meaningful always failed.

 

What Changed?

In my senior year of high school, I became friends with an evangelical Christian. One day we were talking about creation vs. evolution, and she said something about Jesus. I flipped out and yelled, “Don’t say the word ‘Jesus’ around me ever again!” Months later, after I left for college, I got a forwarded email from my Grandpa that quoted Jesus saying, “If you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of you before my Father” (Mark 8:38). When I read that, I realized that I would not get into heaven because I didn’t want to have any association with Jesus. I wasn’t ready for the whole God thing, but I knew Jesus was a good guy, and I shouldn’t have a problem with him. When we went to church on Christmas, I prayed, “Jesus, make me not uncomfortable to hear your name anymore,” and suddenly everything changed. I wanted to go to a Bible study and discover who Jesus was. Thanks to some Christian friends in my dorm, I went to a Campus Crusade for Christ meeting, and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior there.

 

Who I Am Now

It’s not like I suddenly became a perfect person, but after I accepted Jesus, I suddenly felt whole. I still wrestled with depression, but life didn’t feel meaningless like before. Over the next 4 years, though, I struggled to follow God and drifted into the party scene. Through it all, God stuck with me and kept telling me that He had something better for me. When I finally got involved in a good church community and started reading the Bible, I started trusting Jesus more and more. Bit by bit I left that other life behind. Following Jesus has not been easy. I can still be selfish and thoughtless, but Jesus transforms me to live with grace and love. I’m still amazed that God would love me and save me after how seriously and repeatedly I rejected and dishonored Him. His love and forgiveness is beyond what I can comprehend.

 


 
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