I was 11.
I kind of believed in God. But I was already annoyed with fanatical absolute concepts.
Mom and Dad were "recently religious", for lack of a better term. We had attended church regularly as long as I could remember. But they had stepped things up a notch, and that triggered my annoyance. I was almost angry about it. I hate having things forced on me.
I was a good kid.
That's how I saw myself. Truth is, I have a serious mean streak. Not sure if I was conscious of it or if I just thought I could control it. But I was out of conrol in other ways. I was starting to get into mild trouble.
I was hard to control in school.
That was the extent of "trouble".
But that was tough for my teachers and in turn was difficult for my parents. Simple stuff like, "shut up while the teacher is talking", obvious common sense, just did not click. If I wanted to say something, why not??
Everyone is a "sinner". Most people like to weigh sins, as if some badness is more bad and other badness is not-so-bad. Wrong is wrong. Sin is sin. Every drug is a "gateway drug". Every sin is a "gateway sin". And eventually, death is death and hell is hell.
I was convicted that I was "a sinner". For a long time, I did not want to bow to this reality.
I grew up hearing about Jesus, that He was/is the Son of God. Somehow, He is also part of the Trinity, so He is God. I knew that He died on a cross, was buried, rose from that grave. Never understood why.
Sin cuts you off from God. Sin is the stuff you do, starting with the attitude you hold, that shuts you out from your Creator. Sin is what rips away everything that makes life worth living. That's hell. The fire and brimstone part is true, but that's not the worst of it. The worst of it is that ultimate aloneness, an unberarble emptiness, so full of yourself there's no room for anything or anyone else.
Even though I was just 11, life was starting to be hell. Look ... "mild". I used the word "mild" to make the point. My life was far from the hell some people go through. Thank God! (literally) But I was on my way there.
They finally sent me home from school. That hurt.
I believed. Finally I realized that I had had enough of myself. I only vaguely remember the moment, didn't mention it, and thought it was private. But people could tell. Mom heard from the teachers. They asked about the change, so she asked me. Frustrated that my secret was blown, I responded, "How did you know?" Mothers always know.
There was no thunder. There were no fuzzy feelings. I've never spoken in tongues. But it was real ... and pivotal. Life is not perfect, but I actually have life.
-- R; <><