(this is part of a series of stories being ported over from the old website. Here’s my story)
That’s not to say I wish I had been a bad kid. I just wish I had been more aware of my heart’s true condition.
I was the youth group poster-child. If there was a committee in my church with a youth representative, I was it. I led Bible studies, I went on mission trips, and I even was an Eagle Scout. Parents in the youth group all liked me. I had a master key to the thousand-plus-member church on my key ring.
The problem is, I was a jerk (even if only internally). I judged others on a curve, demonized their sins and gave myself a pass. I might never have said it out loud, but I was better than everybody I knew.
The most major problem I had was theological, and is only clear in retrospect. I saw the gospel, the fact that Jesus died for people, as just a doorway into Christianity. I thought that once you get through the door, you are a good kid, and the gospel is old news. This cancerous theology worked itself out in my life in so many ways. I had this massive us/them split going on in how I viewed other people, for one. The kids in my high school who smoked weed and drank beer were the “bad kids” and I, along with my Christian friends, were the “good kids.” We were the insiders. God liked us more. And to make matters worse, I even saw myself as better than my Christian friends. God liked me more, because I prayed in front of people, sang the lead in the youth group musical, and could play the guitar and lead people in singing “Lord I Lift Your Name on High.” What a smug pharisee I became.
Then I started to have trouble living up to my own standards. God graciously took me to the point of seeing that I still, in spite of all my work, needed saving. Seeing myself as the sinner still in need of a savior was simultaneously the worst and the best news I had ever heard. And it’s why I am in full-time ministry today. The us/them split has been shattered, and I am free to be honest with myself and others about our need for a savior. God’s grace is heroin, and I am officially a junkie.
God called me into ministry with Campus Crusade for Christ in 2002, and it has been a blast “dealing” grace to college students. I am passionate about men stepping out of apathy and addiction and into a vibrant and fulfilling walk with God. I view Jacqueline’s and my ministry as a partnership where we, along with all the folks who prayerfully and financially support us, strive to show Christ to students, both the “good kids” and the “bad kids.”
What about you? Were you the good kid? The rebel? How’d that work out for you?