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Stories of Lives Liberated



A self-righteous, unrepentant prig intent on being good by his own integrity turned servant by the hand of Another.

Who I Was Before Christ:

I was always a smart kid. Valedictorian, full ride to college, University Honors Program… I was never short something to boast of, anyway. But beyond that, I was really a pretty decent kid. I asked questions in school, mowed my neighbor ladies’ lawns, and did what I was asked without much complaining (usually). I never drank or smoked. I didn’t offend the law.

While I admitted my minor mistakes, I believed my excellence, intelligence, and kindness overshadowed any scant imperfection; I saw my life as a standard others probably envied and definitely aspired to. Jesus and the Bible were great in principle, but the people I assumed to be the archetypal Christian were both hypercritical and hypocritical. So I tended my Lutheran religion, refuting the Christian label.

But as divorce, cancer, dissolved friendships; hate, lust, and pride all established themselves in my life, I saw my world begin to gray. I labored to secure my good life to find that the only thing thriving was my thirst for praise. Self and peer adoration became my only motivators, my strides toward personal fulfillment settled into restlessness, and my disconnect with the Almighty numbed my interest in the world.

I left for college in the fall of 2012 with every intention assuring my superiority over the Christians. I just wanted to be good, no churches attached.

What Changed?:

I hated myself for loving the Rock. Perhaps it was because finding community was my most willfully latent craving that it was immediately so very alluring. That such a desire was met at church, of course, was not necessarily to my liking. Still, I couldn’t grasp why there, for the first time in an especially long time, I was no longer fearful or inwardly rebellious, nor why I finally fit in. No longer did I have to validate my own worth; indeed, I saw others find their value in something beyond mere human interaction. This elementary perception was all it took for me to take another look at Jesus and the Church as it was intended, as a body of believers, as loving, failing, forgiven servants of Christ.

Who I Am Now:

God’s love is unflinching and formidable, and it can be neither replicated nor fully imagined. Through my meager strides to grasp how wide and long and high and deep God’s love is for me, my purpose has been refocused: where once I sought money and success and self-sufficiency, I am now empowered and impassioned by the pursuit of Truth.

My God is an active God. He quenches my thirst and leads me to calm. My God saves me from a beckoning world and answers my questions. He challenges me to realize and practice love and grace for no other reason than that He has revealed them in my life for me. I am finally encouraged, challenged, loved, and at home in the arms of my Father.

I am free.

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