My freshman year of high school my father had an affair with a woman at church. A family we used to share a pew with. It tore our family apart. I hated church. I hated God. I hated anything that had to do with Christianity. I guess you could say I was adamantly opposed to it because of the experience I had. So, I started to walk a more traditional road in high school. I was involved physically with women. I was into drugs, mostly smoking marijuana, and experimenting some other things. I went to an Episcopalian high school but that’s as far as it went. It was very legalistic and traditional. Mostly what I learned at that high school was how to hide the fun things or what I thought was fun that I was doing in the background. If you had asked me if I was a Christian, I would have said yes. At the time, I thought because I was born into a church, and born into this idea of Christianity, that’s all it took.
A man named Jason Morris, I guess it was October of my freshman year in college, sat down and shared the gospel with me. He said, “Hey, man, do you know what it means to have a life with Jesus Christ? Do you know what it means to walk with Jesus Christ?” The first time he asked me that, I said; “Yeah, I do.” After a couple of weeks of hanging out with these individuals in this ministry, I realized I wasn’t the same. There was a bitterness inside of me. There was darkness inside of me that I couldn’t explain. I didn’t know what it was but I was different. I had to go back to Jason and say, “You asked me if I knew what it meant to have a life with Jesus. I said Yes, but the truth is, I don’t.” The funny thing was that he said, “I thought that was the case.” He sat down and said; “What you have to do is invite Christ into my heart.
It wasn’t a magical experience. After I prayed the prayer. The Sinners Prayer is what Jason called it, there was still some bitterness, and there was still some desire to live that old lifestyle. It was that continual investment into scripture and into God that really changed my life and changed my heart. I think I first noticed it when I was talking to someone about my father.
I had major bitterness toward this guy, which really influenced my idea of God. My own earthly father lied to me for, it was a period of seven years that he had the affair, and he is married to the woman today. Now fifteen years later. I had this major bitterness built up with him. I thought if my own father could lie to me this way and you want me to build my faith around a heavenly father? My view of God was skewed. As I continued to invest in God, I guess it would have been in February of the following year after I had asked Christ to come into my heart, these feelings of bitterness started to break down. I remember sharing with Jason, “I’m not angry with my father anymore. I’m not. I don’t want to call the man and cuss him out.” That was the desire of my heart for so long. I really wanted to call him and say, “I’m sorry for what I had done.” Months earlier if you’d asked me I would have said; “I haven’t done anything wrong.” The truth is, as I’m learning how God and the gospel affect my life, I’m realizing we’re all broken. I was broken. Just as broken as my father. It really was a huge moment that made me want to call him and say, “I’m so sorry for the way I treated you. I forgive you of all this.” The reason is that God had forgiven me of all the things I had done in my life.
That was the gospel living out inside of me. I invested in God, so from the inside out here it comes. It was this overwhelming desire to call my dad and say; “I forgive you.” That doesn’t mean it wasn’t easy right away. It still took years. We are still working it. We’re doing wonderfully. I have a great relationship with my dad now and his wife for that matter. I have forgiven them, and I love them so much. That was the moment that I realized that this has to be Christ because on my own I had bitterness and anger toward my dad. I really didn’t like the guy. All of sudden I felt this joy like, I needed to call him and say that I’m sorry, I love him and let him know that I’m here. That’s the idea of Christ. No matter what I did, God loved us, and He was still there for us.