Testimony – How I learned freedom through forgiveness
I grew up in a Christian family. Growing up, I thought that being a Christian was an obligation. Every Sunday morning, I would force myself to wake up and attend church service even if I were too late.
Each week, I would memorize one verse so that I would get some reward. Then I’d later forget it.
My grandfather was a Sunday school teacher. I knew everything about the life of Jesus. But deep inside, I didn’t have a personal, intimate relationship with Him.
I lived a normal life. I don’t belong to a broken family. My family is complete but ironically I felt incomplete every-time I was at home.
I had super powers whenever I was with them, I suddenly became invisible! Yes, they give me all the material things I needed, except one, one thing that money can’t buy – time.
I wasn’t pretty, nobody loves me, I am a failure
As a child, I was verbally abused by my drunken uncle. If there’s one thing that would hurt more than physical abuse, it’s the words he would utter to me.
Things like I wasn’t pretty, nobody loves me, I am a failure, I’m the biggest disappointment, I wouldn’t succeed in the future. I was also a victim of cyber-bullying while I was at high school.
Wanting so badly to be appreciated, I would seek love from a person. I was in Senior High School when I encountered this Junior High school friend of mine.
I loved him so much, to the extent that my happiness depended on him. Though we were both Christians at that time, our relationship didn’t last very long, because of my trust issues.
I was so devastated, feeling that I wasn’t good enough. I tried everything to be whole again but I was so broken that time.
Filling the emptiness, the wrong way
To fill this emptiness inside me, I searched in all the wrong places such as having a night life, drinking alcohol, wrong relationships.
I rebelled against my parents. I didn’t take my studies seriously. And I was so bitter all the time.
For two years, I suffered severe depression and anxiety! I isolated myself from EVERYONE.
Those were the darkest days of my life. I felt so hopeless, helpless and hapless. I also attempted to end my life several times.
In every aspect, I felt so worthless because I allowed myself to be abused in many forms: physically, verbally, emotionally and even some episodes of sexual abuse.
Because of my past experiences, It was hard for me to accept myself. I was consumed by thinking about what people said behind my back.
I would do anything to earn people’s approval.
Desperate to be accepted by others, I was also thirsty to be loved. I was so insecure.
It was extremely difficult for me to trust people because I thought no one would understand me, no one would accept me, no one will listen to me…and I can’t make right decisions. I believed all those lies for how many years!
God wrecks my plans
It took time for me to realize that God was allowing bad things to happen for a reason. He was changing the motives of my heart.
“Sometimes it takes a painful experiences to make us change our ways” (Proverbs 20:30 GNT)
God wrecked my plans because He saw that my plans were about to wreck me. As the Bible says in Genesis 50:20, what was intended by the enemy to harm you, God will transform it for your own good— that is, to save the lives of many people.
A Personal Encounter
Personally, I had an encounter with God. (Read: Healing Testimony: What if you may never wake up? )
After that, I was never the same. That day, I was honest to God. Crying out to Him, I told Him that I could not control my life anymore.
I asked for His forgiveness. I acknowledged that He sent Jesus to die on the cross for my sins, and I committed to living for God, and not for others.
If only I was just willing to let go of my self-centeredness, I knew that He could help me.
And yes, it is indeed true that if you seek Him first, all good things will come into their rightful places.
God promoted me in so many ways. I got intentional in winning people over to Christ, by sharing the gospel in different places. There came a point in time where even when my teacher was a priest, I stood up and preached!
Total freedom through forgiveness
And when I decided to wait upon the Lord, I had no enemies. I became whole again.
People could see the gradual changes in me and God helped me to focus on my studies. He also gave me a heart that is full of joy to serve Him!
I also got involved in ministry in our church, teaching the kids in Sunday School and leading the youth ministry.
God helped me to let go of people and things that has no contribution in my life. And above all, God helped me to forgive. Forgive myself and people who had done wrong to me, even if they don’t apologize for what they did.
I learned the meaning of total freedom through forgiveness. My prayer is in Luke 23:34 “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing”.
I don’t have to worry about my past, nor am I anxious for the answers to my future because just like what apostle Paul said, it is no longer I who lives in me, but Christ who lives within me.
At my lowest point, God embraced me. He was my comforter during those times. He was my defender from people who made fun of me.
Above all, God is always reminding me that I am His child. Yes, I have failed many times, and I still stumble, but the grace of God is always available! He is always reminding me of the truth.
Through Him, I am loved, blessed, forgiven, highly favored, accepted and secured. I am fearfully and wonderfully made by Him. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength and my hope is in Him.
He has given me total fulfillment and purpose and joy. I am not perfect and I still mess up, but God is so patient with me. He still loves all of me despite my failures.
He is always encouraging me by what He has promised me, that is forever written in my heart:
Ecclesiastes 3:11 “Everything is made beautiful in God’s time”
No hurt with Jesus
Of all whom I have loved, it is in Jesus that I didn’t get hurt. I surrendered my all to Him not because I quit, but because He won everything for me!
He didn’t give up on me, even if others and even I, gave up on myself, still, God haven’t forsaken me.
There’s no past too broken for God to heal. God’s love changed my life. It’s the same love that casts out all my fears and worries.
He is the answer to my questions. He’s my reward. It is in Him that I find rest. I am who I am today because of Him.
And honestly, apart from God, I can do nothing. I am nothing. My shortcomings are great but the love of God is greater. His mercy is new every morning.
I can’t brag my love for God because I fail Him daily, but I can brag His love for me because it never fails.