Beyond Yesterday

by Chris Reyes*

Growing up, I heard contradictions of law and grace and God’s anger and love. I believed that on some days, God was happy with my performance, and on others, He was disgusted by my sins. It wasn’t until I set my heart into believing that Papa (Yes, I call God “Papa”) was not sitting there condemning me, He was actually holding me in my times of self-condemnation and guilt.

I lost my virginity in a hotel. I was with a friend and two prostitutes when it happened, and I cannot remember much of what took place because of the gluttony and debauchery of the night. I slipped into the mindset that my next sexcapade would be my last. Thus, I continually set a standard to try to overcome my lust. Pretty soon I’d be on my 10th girl, and then my 20th, and then on my 50th, until it got to the point where orgies became a monthly thing; single partners being a daily/nightly occurrence. Having done this for about 6 years, I inevitably got one girl pregnant. Without me knowing what had happened, the girl decided to take matters into her own hands and abort the baby after a month of being pregnant.

Girls at the mall, girls at the park… I loved them all. I lusted after them, pursued them, and on the same day, got rid of them. In between all these was a reckless heart desperate for a way out. I was enjoying the flesh.  Sins? Why, I broke them all.  I dared to try anything once– and not even just once, but twice –especially with drugs: cocaine in South America, weedcake in Jamaica. Whatever the pleasure, bring on the hedonism! I lived a life of the flesh and was still a “Christian.” I erroneously thought that the King of kings who created all things approved of me because He created me. And I was this way.

I can honestly say that external appearances never reveal scars or the amount or lack of love in a person. The law, standards, rules, and commandments in the Bible expose people time and time again. But you know what? Where sin abounds, grace superabounds.  Those who are forgiven much love much.

Papa used my yesterday to prepare me for a love that consumes me today.

I was introduced to an “Am-boy” missionary who didn’t care about the litany of sins in my life. He simply told me about what Christ did and Papa’s love for me. He shifted the focus from me with all my sins and garbage, to the finished work of Christ. Just like Christ, this missionary loved me like a brother as unconditionally as any human could. Soon after, I found a change in my perspective for Christ’s love for me, the church, and relational Christianity.

Rather than being in sin, guilty, and self-conscious, I began to be consumed with a Christ-consciousness. I couldn’t be righteous in my own strength.  Righteousness was all about Jesus. I realized that there was love, forgiveness, grace, mercy, in the person of Jesus who was 100% human and 100% divine.  I grew tired of eating from the tree of good and evil; of trying to keep the standards of “good” I couldn’t keep. I began eating from the Tree of Life, in believing Jesus. His righteousness was enough. All of my sins, all my guilt, and all my fears were eclipsed by His Love.

I now live for Jesus. I enjoy a life free of guilt and condemnation. I also fellowship with other broken believers who want to hear and repeatedly be reminded of Papa’s love and Jesus’ finished work. I also have a grace-filled relationship with a beloved princess of Christ who knows  about my past, yet reminds me that my sins have been dealt with 2,000 years ago. As I live and meditate on Papa’s grace, I continually shed flesh in preparation for my divine journey home.

* The author’s name has been changed

— First published in the Grace Issue of One Voice, published with permission.

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