“There was a time in my life when guilt and shame were central. For a variety of reasons, I thought evangelizing others and being super active as a Christian would drive the guilt and shame away. I would go to public places and ask God, “Who here needs to hear the gospel?” Then I would preach at people with a fear-based message, telling them they were on their way to hell. I was God’s “soldier” and the “good news” was coming through me like a bullet through a firearm.
Meanwhile I knew all my stumbling blocks and was very aware of my short-comings. I would spend hours confessing sin. But my over-awareness of my sin just fed more “pious” behaviour. I thought if I was truly sold out for God, He would answer my prayers and set me free. I kept doing things I thought would please him, but after every task or activity all I felt was that I needed to do more. I became resentful toward God. Why wasn’t he delivering me? Why was I still depressed and anxious? Why did I hate myself?
What irony that the God I was testifying about so aggressively, was a God I didn’t even like. It was a God I was afraid of and was working hard to convince I deserved his love. In the middle of all this was a huge doubt of my own salvation.
Today I’m a broken man. I haven’t “arrived”, but I know I’m not interested in going back to a phase of my life dominated by fear. Today I’m aware that God is developing a faith in me that can receive his grace. I know he is inviting me into a closer relationship with him that is not based on my achievements. I like the God I am starting to know. He truly loves me and wants to walk with me day by day.
God is working through specific people to help me find freedom and wholeness through his love and compassion. The MARK Centre is one ministry that is helping me see a very different God than the one I grew up with. In the past, I was fighting battles that God had already won. I was trying to please a God who was already pleased with me. Delighting in God and allowing God to delight in me is now a new possibility that I’m thrilled to cultivate.
God is better than I imagined.”
– John Dueck, Chilliwack, BC