Why I’m a Christian: Charlie

by Max Andrews

I was raised in a few different households. My mother was addicted to drugs and my father was running around on her. I was taken in by my father when my mom was deemed unfit to have custody of me. My stepmother was the woman my father had been seeing while he was married and saw me as a reminder of my mother, but played the part of caring mother to please my father.

I was beat, harassed, and ridiculed by my stepmother for the sole reason of not being her child. To her, I was a constant reminder of a burden that she had no intention to bear. I recall her taking me with her children to church on the “important days” of Easter and Christmas. She claimed she was a believer of God.

My grandmother, who had adopted my mother, got to see me every other weekend. I recall that she would take me to church whenever I was spending the weekend with her and worked hard to get me to see all that Christianity had to offer. She truly was a loving woman. When she was seven years old she was given 7 months to live and she lived to be 70, dying 7 days after being admitted to the hospital and 7 hours after I had last visited her. I did not see it then.

I was young and confused. On the one hand I had a mother figure that beat me for simply being born. On the other hand, I had a grandmother who went out of her way to show compassion and caring for others. Both claimed to be Christians. I had no idea which way was the right way or which woman was truly following God. It seems so simple now, but when you’re young, it is overwhelming.

Many times I had “prayed” for God to answer me. To come into my life and help me discern His way for me. I felt at times there were no answers and that God just simply wasn’t there.

I did everything I could to fill the hurt and the pain in my life. I chased women, drank heavily, and got lost in deep depression. What made Christianity finally click for me was when I visited my wife’s church. The pastor quoted the beginning of Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life, in which he says, “It’s not about you.”

I spent the majority of my life to that point focusing on myself. On my pain, on my struggles, on my circumstances. What never crossed my mind is that God was there with me through it all. I prayed that night with deep sincerity for God to come into my life and heal my wounds and forgive me for making my whole life about myself. God delivered.

I’m not a Christian to be trendy. I’m not a Christian because I don’t enjoy social conformity. I’m a Christian because I owe my life to my Father and best friend. While my father, mother, and stepmother in this world led me down a dark path, I always had God there with me. God spoke to me through my grandmother. He spoke to me in times I was seeking consoling. He spoke to me through the pain of losing my grandmother. No matter the situation, God spoke to me even if I was unwilling to hear.

Being a Christian isn’t about me. I don’t study The Bible for myself. I don’t blog about Christianity for publicity. I’m not studying Ministry to rectify regret. I do all these things to get closer to God and to understand Him more. I’m a Christian because I am perfectly content knowing that I’m weak, broken, and filthy. I’m a Christian because everything I did without God in it always had a bad result. I’m a Christian because even when I didn’t know God, He was there for me.

But most of all, I’m a Christian because God fills me with hope.

The world is centered on self. Everyone has to get the biggest house, the fastest car, the supermodel girlfriend, and the boatloads of money. They can have it. When you go after the superficial, you get lost in the world and lose sight of the bigger picture. Atheists place so much hope in mankind and so much value in self-worth. So sure that man can turn it around by themselves when history clearly says otherwise.

Being a Christian, to me, is the realization that even when I’m at my best, I am still nothing. The only things I do in my life that amount to anything are the things that glorify God. That put me in the background. That make me look helpless and hopeless without God.

I’m far from perfect. My body is full of holes from my flaws. But the holes in my body are where God shines through.

*For more on how to share your story please visit Tell Us Why You’re a Christian.

3 Comments to “Why I’m a Christian: Charlie”

  1. Great story of God’s redeeming grace!

  2. You got it wrong my friend:

    “Atheists place so much hope in mankind and so much value in self-worth. So sure that man can turn it around by themselves when history clearly says otherwise.”

    Atheists do not place hope in mankind but rather in looking reality in the face and dealing with it it what ever way we can. We do not wait for an invisible spirit to do the work for us but rather rely on our surrounding and our understanding of the physical world in the best possible way we can. Is this an easy task? Absolutely not. Does history suggest it is a tough task? Sure. But is this a reason to turn a blind eye and suggest that a non-physical reality will solve our problems for us? I think not.

  3. To Shim Marom…

    Thank you for your perspective. Always good to hear a first hand perspective from those we differ from.

    A few things though.

    First…I know atheists who do place hope in mankind because they believe the reason and rationale (which I also strongly believe in although my atheist friends tell me I don’t) of thinking people can and will, in time, resolve humanity’s problems. They place their hope in mankind liberated from religion because there is nowhere else they can place their hope, other than in their own reasoning abilities via science and applying this to their lives.

    Second…as a Christian I don’t “wait” for an invisible spirit to do the work for me either. I also look reality in the face, it’s just that I believe ‘reality’ includes God. I do everything I can myself and believe that in doing so God can and does meet us in that act of doing what I can. I know many Christians working in scientific areas for example who work steadily to find answers/solutions etc to human problems. They aren’t waiting about for an invisible spirit to drop an answer into their laps, they know it doesn’t work that way, they work and study and diligently apply themselves to wisdom and learning and believe God reveals wisdom to them as they do this. I have a Christian friend who is a Surgeon. He doesn’t wait for God to operate on his patients without any human involvement, he goes and performs the surgery believing God is doing His healing work through him.

    Third…I’m not sure why believing that a non-physical reality has the final answers is turning a blind eye? God doesn’t generally solve our problems for us in the sense of dropping answers into our laps so all we have to do is sit back and wait. Sometimes the waiting bit is essential (for everyone no matter their beliefs) but that doesn’t mean inactivity. God uses our natural human curiosity, creativity and desire for progress to advance our knowledge base and scientific inquiry. I’m not sure that a Christian working in science like Francis Collins, for example, who worked with others heading the Human Genome Mapping Project, can be categorized as turning a blind eye. There are many more Christians like him. Equally I’m not sure the whole history of Christian missionary endeavor or Christians working among the socially deprived can be categorized as waiting for an invisible spirit to do everything for them. They know God works through people.

    I hope I’m not misrepresenting your views, apologies if I am. It’s just that as there are different kinds of Christian, I have met different kinds of atheists with differing views. You are clearly an intelligent person representing Atheists who hold particular views, but I have met atheists who think differently and do place hope in mankind and his/her reasoning ability. I wanted to reply to you because you have described Christians from one perspective. Some Christians may think/believe as you have represented them, but not all. I think it’s important to represent those we differ from as accurately as we can so wanted to reply saying I have different views, as a Christian, from those you cite. Again, apologies if I have misrepresented you and thank you for your input. We both believe that we need to use our minds and skills to work through the problems we face and I wish you well in you efforts to do just that.

    Best wishes.

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