I grew up in a small town in America. I have memories of mom and dad attending church at times and prayer happening before the evening meal. It was at Vacation Bible School where I said the sinner’s prayer and I was eventually baptized. In my home, and in the life of my parents, Christianity and church always felt more like an obligation than a passion.
Yeah, I attended youth group for awhile in high school, but eventually sports and work became more of a priority for me. There were moments where I sensed that something was not quite right with my faith. All the stories of lives changed and real joy in Christ seemed to only be the experience of other people. I just kept telling myself that I was not much different than mom and dad and my other church friends.
Went off to college and had a hard time connecting with a campus ministry or a local church. During college I grew intellectually and began distancing myself from quite a few of the myths of Christianity that I believed as a young boy. Eventually I got involved with the wrong friends and ended up partying and pursuing pleasure. Was there some temporary guilt? Sure. But I shrugged it off and found it easy to get distracted with a million other things.
I met a girl. She came from a Christian home and genuinely seemed to love God. We dated in college and eventually got married and moved back to my hometown. Life got busy and we found once again that it was hard to find time to get connected and involved in church. If I was being completely honest there were some people in the church that really bugged me and I had a hard time laying aside my bitterness and anger. The love for God that my wife had at one time seemed to slowly fade away. My kids were becoming apathetic about spiritual things. Was I the reason for their lukewarm faith?
I worked hard all my life. I had a passion for politics and those closest to me certainly knew my opinions. I took care of my family, enjoyed my hobbies and tried my best to be a good person. Was involved in Kiwanis. Attended church on occasion. Eventually, like everyone I died.
At my funeral my family and friends all had nice things to say about me. I was a good guy. I loved my kids. I was an avid hunter and fisherman. I had great sense of humor. The pastor preached about how I was with God and in a better place.
I never had a relationship with Jesus.