Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christianity from the Outside Looking in. . .





A little about my background. I was an atheist for the first 45 years of my life. In 2000 many different, seemingly unrelated chains of events came together in my life, and my eyes were opened. . . I saw what a fool I had been for my disbelief.

I clearly remember how negatively I used to view Christianity and Christians. I saw nothing positive at all, no redeeming value in Christianity. 15 years after coming to Christ, obviously today my view is completely different. I was so wrong on every aspect of my distaste for Christianity.

1. It looked so boring to me to be a Christian. So many of my ‘fun’ things to do, were centered around sin. I greatly enjoyed smoking, drinking, and gambling, and I could not imagine having fun without these as integral components of my fun. Drinking especially was important to me. A night out playing pool or playing cards or a cookout, a camping trip, a gathering of friends or going out to eat all involved drinking for enjoyment. . . . Yes, I clearly remember that it was fun to drink. . . to relax, and let down your hair as the saying goes, but what I don’t so fondly remember are the terrible fights Jackie and I had while drinking. . . the stupid and terrible things I would say or do under the influence of alcohol. . . the horrific feeling of depression, often shame, and always utter sickness that was with me for more than a day after a bout of binge drinking. . . the costs monetary, relationship, and health wise that drinking, and smoking exacted upon me.

2. I viewed Christians as somewhat stupid. . . generally self-righteous, and judgmental, often bigoted and without logical thought. . . quite shallow and universally hypocritical people. Oh so superior I was to them. . . and there surely are those Christians who fit many of those attributes. . . I had some bad experiences with self-righteous, judgmental Christians which really skewed my view of Christianity. By far the huge huge majority of Christians I know today are loving, compassionate, humble people whom I am proud to call brothers, and sisters. . . they are indeed my family. I know that they will love me and others, in spite of failings. My brothers and sisters, a great many of them have been delivered from sin, and clearly remember, and bear scars from their past. . . no pointing fingers of self-righteousness, but utter gratitude for their new heart, and mind. . . Love and not judgement is our guiding role and focus.

3. I viewed the Bible as a collection of fables. . . myths, entirely the equivalent to Greek, and Roman mythology. I knew various, what I thought were difficult questions, contradictions, etc. that proved how foolish the Bible was. Now after 15 years of reading the Bible more than 10 times from Genesis to Revelation and studying it, I stand in awe of it. On the finest, deepest level that you look at the words of the Bible, it fits together seamlessly. . . More than 40 different writers. . . Kings, prophets, men of high and low estate, written across more than 2000 years and it fits together perfectly. Time and time and time again doubts have been raised by scholars claiming that people's, timing of events, battles, cities, languages. . . could not. . . did not exist as described in the Bible, and it is always. . . always! eventually verified with further research, and archeological discoveries as being dead on accurate in its accounts. I was as a 15 year old boy having scant knowledge of geometry, algebra, and trigonometry declaring a calculus textbook to be filled with contradictions, and fallacies. . . largely based upon the declarations and skepticism of others, and my own failure to comprehend and understand.

My life is utterly changed for the better.

Jesus speaking:


Matthew 11:28-30
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

What beautiful words those are. Feel the attitude. . .the compassion and love of them. My life with Jesus, rather than a heavy burden. . . rather than a chafing task to be resented and daily undertaken with distaste. . . I deeply love Him, and the more I know of Him, the more depth and height my love for Him has. I want to do those things, and to live in a way, which formerly seemed to me. . . from the outside looking in, to be so distasteful. I want to do them now, because I am in love with Jesus. These are not rules applied to me externally, which I resent, but my heart is filled with love for Him, and I desire to do things which are pleasing to Him. . . and I hate it when I disappoint Him and let Him down. That is my conviction. . . not my fear of judgement which motivates me, but when I mess up, my actions hurt the One I love more than any other. . . and that makes me very sad with myself. Rather than seeing how much I can get away with, I want to stay as far away from that line as possible. . . this is the power of the relationship with Him to change me in ways, that the mere rules and laws. . . commandments, etc. by themselves never could.

I so clearly remember the pain, and chaos. . . the darkness, and sickness of my previous life. In those days, I could in no way imagine the peace, and joy, and power, and strength that this life with Jesus has given me.

You’ve tried it your way, and you can always go back to the person you were before, but why not give God a chance? Why let the doubts, and in many cases the outright lies of others dissuade you from what I and countless millions of others have found to be an island of light and peace in a dark and chaotic world. . .

I love You my God. . .
I thank You for saving me. . .
I thank You for loving me. . .

Dave