16 years ago, I wrote this in my journal:
I’ve been reading None Dare Call it Treason by John Stormer and it’s freaking me out. Communism is an evil thing that takes our rights and persecutes Christians and it’s sneaking right into America. It’s here. We’re just a depression away from seeing it take over.
“O Lord, I’m only 19. What’s gonna happen to me and this nation in my lifetime? I must be ready. I need to be closer to you. Take me, Lord. Teach me how to be one with you.”
I was reading in a book by Richard Wurmbrand that there should be no you, me, or I’s in religion. We are to be one with Him. It should only be He.
I also read that latest “Voice of the Martyr’s newsletter yesterday. I really want to serve there. The main article declared that prayer is not enough. It’s good, but as James said: “Faith without works is dead!” Whenever the pastor comes to visit me I’m gonna tell him about Voice of the Martyrs. I guess he’s aware of them, but how come his church does nothing for them? I really care about the suffering church overseas and I’m tired of the spoiled church here in America. If God has called me into the ministry then I pray that He wants me to serve and minister to the persecuted church.
I want to just write down some thoughts. I’m sitting on the floor, ready to bow down and worship Him if I feel the urge to. How can God put up with me? I am so dark and selfish deep down in my heart. But no I’m not. Jesus took that away. I’m clean!
Revelation 20:6 – “Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and Christ will reign with him…”
Me? I will be a holy priest of God and will reign with Him? Me? I believe it, but I can hardly believe it. Me with my wavering faith, my shyness, my laziness, how I want to complain over the smallest problems, how I worry about nothing, my dry, dry eyes and my often cold prayers mixed with daydreams. “Me? Why God? Why do you love me? O, I gotta do better. Closer, Lord. Draw me closer. Don’t turn me away, Lord. Look past my sins. Wash them away. You have! Thank you! But what now, God? I still have so many weaknesses. Draw me closer.”
— September 1st, 1999
Dear Former Self,
First of all, communism is not going to “take over” the nation. This is why you should be in college right now. You need to get an education, get a job, meet other people (including non-Christians) and get some damn life experience. Once you do, you’ll discover there are very few communists in America and that they have no real political power. You’re a perfect example of how ignorance breeds fear.
I actually think it’s good that you want to help people oversees who are persecuted for their faith. Even though I don’t believe in Christianity anymore, I believe everyone–no matter what country they’re in–should have the freedom to practice whatever religion they want.
The main theme I see throughout these journal entries is grace vs. self-hatred. On the one hand, you believe in the Christian concept of grace, where all your sins have been washed away and you’re free to be in God’s presence without any guilt. But on the other hand, you believe you’re a sinner and deserve to spend eternity in Hell.
No matter how hard you try, you’re unable to reconcile these two concepts. And unfortunately, the Bible isn’t much help. Some passages talk about being redeemed through the blood of Christ (Ephesians 1:7), and other passages talk about the evils of sin (Colossians 3:5-6). So how can you feel good about yourself when you continue to commit little sins everyday?
Christian pastors and writers aren’t much help either. Some of them focus on grace and how you don’t need to feel guilty about your sins anymore. Others talk about how awful it is that some Christians keep sinning everyday even though they’ve been given this infinitely wonderful gift. So which is it? It’s too bad the Bible isn’t more clear.
Here’s a thought. What if when someone became a born-again Christian, God not only forgave their sins, but also took away their ability to sin? Think about it. Born again Christians acknowledge that they’re sinners and deserve Hell, and they genuinely don’t want to sin anymore, so why doesn’t God help them to stop sinning? Sure, he’d be taking away their free will, but that’s what they want! They want to leave their sinful nature behind and be like they will be in Heaven: sinless and guiltless.
If that’s how it worked, Christianity would be even more popular because no one could deny that Christians are the happiest, most ethical and trustworthy people in the world. (As it is, Mormons seem to be the happiest religious people.) If not a single Christian ever told a lie, broke a promise, or went back to their sinful ways, then countless more people would give their lives to Jesus. So why doesn’t God do this? He has the power to stop people from sinning once they get to Heaven, so why can’t he stop them from sinning while they’re still on Earth?
I suppose the reason God doesn’t do this is because he doesn’t exist. And that’s why a disturbingly large percentage of Christians are selfish, lying, hypocrites.
— Matt, May 17th, 2016
This is part of an ongoing series called Letters to My Former Self.