My first exposure to Christianity was a very negative experience at first. Those I knew to be Christians were also some of the most condemning and legalistic people I had met. They preached a gospel based on works and merit, where their 'good deeds' made them better people than those who did not believe. When I began following Jesus, these past experiences created in me a fear of failure. I believed God would only call me His son if I acted in a way that was pleasing to Him. If I slipped up than He would forsake me.
This lie built self-hatred in me. Whenever I acted in a way I knew did not honor God, I would berate myself and look at myself in disgust. It became very difficult for me to believe God loved me or desired me. Then one day my sophomore year, I remember being at a very low point. I was disgusted and ashamed with myself, and then God revealed to me that His desire for me was not contingent upon my actions or what I believed about myself. That even when I believed I was unlovable, He joyfully called me His son.
This changed everything! The lie of earning the love of Jesus was broken in that moment. All the baggage from my past experiences was lifted! This enabled me to begin a deeper walk with God. Now that I was accepting His free love, which He was always giving, I began to see freedom grow in all areas of my life. I began to overcome obstacles I had struggled with for a long time. I was finally able to really enter in to the life Jesus died for me to have!
- John Meyne