“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Timothy 1:15-17
I have shared little else with you all aside from expositions on Scripture and defense against preposterous doctrines and arguments of liars and false teachers, but, today, I write tear-stained words of thankfulness and joy. See, in two days, I will be at the seventh year to the day from the time I first heard the voice of my Shepherd call out to me while employed at an adult store in St. Louis, MO. This has brought about a period of reflection and, for whatever value it has, I want to share with you all. Sparing the deeper details that would draw this out too long, of course, I will start with the direct path that brought me to the moment of surrender.
In my early teens, I began to stray from the relatively safe home I was raised in and became involved with things that gave the appearance of being “cool” while creating sensations of intoxication. I began to drink often and started smoking cigarettes – “innocent” enough, some would say. Soon after, I experimented with pot and began selling cigarettes and other items in school on top of drinking during class. From this point, though not a cause of it, I soon found myself in a large group of friends that went by a moniker that I will keep for privacy’s sake. We would drink and party, but this was being turned into a violent gang by the son of a rich couple, who was enthralled by that lifestyle. Being one of the biggest and more intimidating members, not to mention the years of instruction in fighting from my father, made me one of the three members people went to when they had a problem with another person. At this time, I was smoking pot more frequently and drinking even more, returning to my apartment often in the early morning drunk and stumbling.
I took advantage of my mother’s fatigue with dealing with other serious family problems and ran around with ruffians who were more interested in stealing and partying. Near to this time, I found myself becoming quite good at sneaking into apartments and homes, stealing expensive, but portable belongings. Times would come when one of us were in trouble or were being threatened and we had to do bad things to stop it and various girls were being raped and we had to do bad things to stop it from happening. Traveling forward in time by a year or two: the latter of the two scenarios hit much closer to home when the aforementioned “son of a rich couple” was doing something unspeakable to another unnamed person who was much closer to me at the time. His actions brought him close to being murdered, but something stopped me from fulfilling the act. The throw away was as good as purchased and he was never going to see me, but something stopped me from doing this, despite how my heart felt.
Traveling even further to mid-September 2005, I was alone, in the middle of my shift at an adult store where my eyes beheld many disgusting and horrible things, and playing with my new cell phone. Accessing the application store, I found a free trial of the King James Version Bible and downloaded it. Afterwards, I opened the app to the Gospel of Matthew, I believe, but the “Sermon on the Mount” and something changed immediately. I knew that I needed Jesus – it really is that simple. I just knew it. Closing out my shift, I went back to my apartment where I fell to my knees and surrendered my life to Him and realizing that, in twenty-three years, my life had amounted to nothing but drugs and violence, stealing and lust, but one day knelt before Him was far greater.
He was worthy – He still is! Looking back, I could see the incredible grace of this Shepherd who sought high and low for one lost sheep whose fleece was dirty and tainted and He cleaned it white as snow. To think that even all of heaven rejoices when a single sinner repents and surrenders to Jesus! This is why Paul’s words grace the top of this writing: I was that sinner. I mocked His disciples when they witnessed to me and glorified lies and idols. I glorified the creation over the Creator and lifted myself up over He who sought me, but by His unfathomable grace and mercy, He saved me. It is for this reason, I have no doubt, that we will lay our crowns at His feet, for He truly is worthy.
To the One who died to save evil men and women; to the Most High, who moved to us for our reconciliation; to the One way, truth, and life – the One, Jesus all honor and praise is deserved. Amen.