I was brought up in an atheist home and became a Christian in my late twenties. I wasn’t looking for God; he came looking for me. In hindsight I look back over the years and see God initiated a relationship many times and ways. I have lost count of the numerous invites to church and even attended on rare occasion (I would be the one at the back laughing at all you happy clappers and now im one you) God sure has a wicked sense of humour!
Whilst packing to move to the Middle East I uncovered at least 30 different bibles that had been given to me by pesky, proselytizing Christians. Never bothering to read them I proceeded to bin them all. In the Middle East I was invited to a cocktail party and upon arrival discovered the said cocktails were fruit juice served after a church service. The singing was ridiculous but the sermon was from Ecclesiastes and the cynicism piqued my curiosity. That very night I received a new bible as a gift and went home to read.
From the moment I began to read “The word of God,” I was lost. (Heb 4.12 for the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart). I read the Bible from cover to cover in a couple of months three times my first year as a Christian. I nearly drove the minister insane with my billions of questions.
I love books and all kinds of literature; I grew up reading Tolkien and Gilgamesh epic etc. It makes sense that’s how a personal God would choose to initiate and communicate with me. And over the years he sent many people to meet me and give his word and he persisted till I finally gave in and read it.
As I read the Bible through again and again, I began to realize that all the things I had been told about God and religion were not what the Bible said. They may have been what organized religion said or what some men taught, but not what the Bible itself said.
I began to recognize that hypocrisy was not confined to religion. I had the notion that every hypocrite in the world went to church Sunday’s. It began to dawn on me that hypocrisy is an innate part of humanity, not religion. You deal with hypocrites daily at the grocery store, at the petrol station, on the job. You do not quit buying groceries because the grocer says one thing and does another.
Perhaps people that have lived without God appreciate so much more than people that have grown up in religious structures- what you have in the Church. You do not find happiness living your own system, but only in living God's way.
I am the introvert of introverts, unbearably shy and socially inept, I would be content to never leave home and stay buried in books all day long. However religion doesn’t offer a crutch but a cross, and a life of self denial, sacrifice and transformation. From one extreme to another.
To the Christians out there, I implore you not to give up, once a hard boiled atheist myself; I would never have found God without your evangelistic efforts.
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