A man walks into a bar … carrying the weight of the shame that he has accumulated in the past from poor decisions and hurtful interactions with others, he falls into the bar stool. Heavy hearted, he orders a drink…then another…then another…buying momentary relief. Happy just to escape for an hour or two…ahhhhh! … ‘numb’. Getting home he throws off caution and drinks to his burdened hearts content. Reading the bottle, he follows the directions, “take for pain…AS NEEDED”.
Welcome to my old life. Would the pain ever stop? Would the shame go away? Who would have thought that, this once cute little blonde-haired, bucktoothed boy would ever have turned out to be this little battered man-child trying to survive. Now if you were to ask him, if he expected to be sexually abused at age 10 by a relative, and made to feel like a worthless piece of unlovable trash, he would have said “no”. He also would of never thought himself so heartless as he left many in the wake of his horrible decisions.
This is where God found me. There are some people as you go through life, which never leave your memory even though they fade into your past. One called me up the morning after one of those aimless nights. He asked if I would help him lead a group of high school students at his church. I neither wanted to nor felt like I had anything to offer anyone. But I remember a voice screaming out from my hidden agony, “SOMETHINGS GOT TO CHANGE!” And despite my aversion to his proposal, I said, “I would try”. I think it was what I remembered of the way he lived his life and the kindness his family had shown me that made me go against my desire.
It was there I learned the loneliness I had always felt was because I had no relationship with God, my creator. And the shame was because I had wronged him in my careless living. Okay, so some bad things had happened to me but I had no excuse for what I had done. Even then I knew it was wrong. I also heard that because He loved me so greatly, He made it possible for me to have a personal relationship with him. But it cost Him big. Isaiah 53 says, “But He was wounded for our transgressions He was crushed for our iniquities. Upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and by His wounds we are healed”. The thing that I didn’t understand was that because God is “just” He had to punish my wrongs (sins) in hell, a place of eternal torment away from God. But He took the punishment for me through Jesus, who suffered greatly on the cross. I learned in 1 Peter 3 that “Christ died for sins, once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous to bring you to God.” He didn’t deserve it, He was perfect but He took my punishment for me and made me right with God because he loves me. Romans 10 says, “If you confess with your mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in your hearts that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved.” As I confessed my sin to Him, I vowed in the deepest part of myself that I would no longer follow my sin but Him.
I have been going down this road for 12 years now and continue to learn about what it means to follow Christ. I read a great verse recently, it says, “…he (God’s child) does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols.” 1Peter 4:2,3
Can you relate? Have you been running long enough? Maybe you have spent enough time chasing after things that only end up hurting you, and its time to come and be healed. Wanna talk? I will listen. Please consider it.
Adam Snell (firstname.lastname@example.org)
2900 Barberry Ave.
Columbia, MO 65202
Sunday Worship 10A.M.
A Man Walks
Into a Bar…