THE LIES A CHURCH-GROWN KID BELIEVES
A conversation with a friend ignited a question that I had in my mind for a long time. It was a struggle I’ve been pondering for a couple of years. A pastor’s kid was opening up to this friend about the time she accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and that there was not a time wherein she experienced a complete turn-around in her life. You know how those testimonies we hear in church when a Christian faced too much problems and burdens, which resulted to a total surrender to God? That’s what she was contemplating on. Only at that time I realized that there is also someone like me who have struggled with the same thing.
A fellow pastor’s kid also once asked me: “Why is that when we hear testimonies in church, we always want to hear the worst people redeemed?” The church usually wants to hear stories from Christians who were once drug addicts, alcoholics or criminals but were changed. Our hearts are easily touched by stories with broken families, losses of material possessions, and unfortunate events, such as life-threatening diseases and deaths. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it just creates a perception within the Christian community that testimonies are better with those experiences.
To fellow pastor’s kids, church-grown kids, and children born in Christian families, I know the feels (in slang terms).
The Christian Background
I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in 2004, after my parents shared the gospel to me in our family devotion. I am the eldest of four siblings. My parents became Christians even before they knew each other, so they have been in the ministry for a while. I grew up in a Christian family, who was very exposed to the church. So, when my parents shared to me the gospel, I was very willing to accept Jesus in my life. For someone who goes to Sunday school regularly and exposed to my parents’ ministries, the choice to accept Jesus was a sure one. For some reason, I understood the gospel right away and accepted it, and I was just 7 years old at that time.
Fast forward to my teenage years, I learned how to read the Bible, started being involved in the ministry, graduated from high school, and so on. My point is, I am already certain of my salvation and the work of God’s grace in my life. It’s just that I feel like I lacked that point in my life where I totally lost my way or that great, big hurdle or failure that really took me to my knees. Sometimes it even gives me insecurities when I share my testimony to others. It gave me doubts of my salvation, but just as I said, I already understood the Gospel.
Truths and Lies
Once again, to kids born in a Christian environment like me, I know how you feel, but we’ve been believing in lies. When we think that our testimonies, or our lives, are lacking because we don’t have that turn-around experience, knee-dropping and “I give up” moment, we believe in lies. The Enemy gave us ridiculous thoughts to consume. Firstly, we are not lesser Christians than them, and they are not, too, because of our experiences. We are blessed with different experiences, trials and tests. So are other Christians who had hit their rock bottom before they changed, we are all equally blessed with different experiences. Secondly, I believe that we all have that knee-dropping moment with God. If not we will, or we just don’t realize when that happened. When I thought I already know a lot, I actually didn’t. After high school, I enrolled in a Christian college, not a bible school, where I’ve come to know more about God. That is when I had more experiences of His goodness and grace. When He revealed himself more, I saw more of my shortcomings, inadequacies, and flaws, which has inspired me to be like his Son, Jesus Christ all the more. It didn’t discourage me seeing myself with more sins and spots, but it actually has helped me know the Lord more. Aside from continuously reading God’s Word and getting more involved in the church, a book entitled Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges greatly widened my understanding of my sinfulness and also God’s grace.
We need to understand that the Lord has blessed us so much that we didn’t need to see and experience the hardest struggles to learn the lesson. We need to realize that He blessed each one of us with different hardships. We need to open our eyes more to see His overflowing grace in our lives. We need to recognize that the same grace that saved us from those experiences, is also the same grace that saved them from more destruction and losses in their lives. It’s a complete deception to think that we are better than Christians who had to experience different pains and challenges, just because we didn’t go through them.
For those Christians who experienced a lot in life, or who don’t fall under the Christian Since birth category, I want to say that I am encouraged with your testimonies. I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy, as Paul says, that you have those rough experiences and hardships other Christians can easily relate to. We didn’t have to experience what you’ve gone through to know the lesson. Truly God works through our different backgrounds!
The Best Testimony
What then should our testimony be? Our testimony should be about God’s love for us. There are no set standards and rules in making testimonies, because we all have unique testimonies on how God has changed and worked in our lives. Let’s remove the view that testimonies are better with the worse experiences. But let’s change that with the perception that we all have different redemptive stories. And at the end of the day, the best story we can tell anyone and everyone is Jesus’ story. His story is the most life-changing and powerful anyone could ever know.
Our experiences and backgrounds maybe different, but what’s important is that God uses all these experiences, whether good or bad, for His glory to be displayed to everyone. Romans 5:28 reminds us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
— Writer’s Bio: Joshua Agoncillo is a music lover, athlete, and a youth leader. Sufficed by grace, he lives by faith and serves only the One true Master.