Imagine being a 13-year-old girl who raised her 4-year-old sister from birth, lived in 8 foster homes in 5 months, and called 911 after seeing her mom dead (at least she looked dead) from a drug overdose on her living room floor. That is the story I heard this summer from one of the most charming and talkative girls I’ve ever met.
I asked her when she became a Christian, and she told me it was, “Pretty much when I saw my mom dead.” She prayed for Jesus to take her to heaven when she died, and has trusted her topsy-turvy life to Him ever since. And she can wax eloquent about how Jesus helps her live that life for hours, if you let her!
But, she had one big worry. She asked me quietly,”What if I do something really bad when I get older?” (This anxious question has haunted me since I heard it. She didn’t say it, but I think she was afraid of becoming an addict, and what that would mean to her spiritual destination.)
When she voiced that question, 14 other girls who were listening to her testimony started nodding in agreement. They, too, were worried about future mistakes, and felt pressure to “stay a Christian.” When I brought up that question in Bible class, 50 more girls glued their eyes to me and hoped for an answer, as well.
What would you say? What assurance would you give?
7 thoughts on “What if I do something really bad?”
That’s a really hard story, given her situation. I had a foster kid say something similar to me. He was paranoid just to listen to a bad word in fear it might make him like his birth parents.
Christ forgives ALL our sins, even the ones we will do tomorrow. What he wants from us, more than anything, is for us to love him. If you keep your life centered around loving Christ and being like Him it will help make it a little easier to choose not to do those big sins. And when you do make mistakes, remember that God loved you first, picked you, and forgives you when you ask. I would go to Romans 5-6 and talk about what Grace is. I would point out that it’s important to surround yourself with friends who love God too because you can help each other. And, considering what she’s been through, I would talk about how some of us don’t have that kind of help in our families. Sometimes our families make really bad choices and hurt us. That doesn’t mean we will make the same mistakes because we can decide to be different and God can help us be different. Even if, with all our efforts, we fall into the same sins as our families, even then God loves us and there is hope in repentance, forgiveness, and restoration.
I remember going through a period where I had a really hard time believing God could love someone as evil as I am. I had a very great sense that God’s goodness would not allow Him to have anything to do with me. I am so unworthy of Christ’s sacrifice and His love for me. It was such a relief when I finally accepted that He chose me fully knowing who I am in all my sinfulness and decided to cover my evil with His good. It was a relief to hear that my future sin was also covered because God wasn’t confined to time when He claimed me and loved me.
That is how I answered, Tanis. Except with Romans 8. “Your sin might surprise you, girls, but it doesn’t suprise God. Jesus died for the sins you haven’t even committed yet. He already knows how bad you are going to be, and He loves YOU!” They kept waiting for the but. But, you really shouldn’t do those bad things. But, there really is no buts, are there? The gospel is kinda “unbelievable.”
I’d point to where Jesus said he came as a doctor for the sick not the well. A God who would say that can be trusted to keep you safe. That’s not an excuse for deliberately going out and doing wrong, but it is a assurance that, given the fact that you love God and seek to please God now, he won’t stop loving you if your life breaks.
Tim, God’s unconditional love is the answer, for sure! Girls (and boys) who are raised in the church get so confused about what their faith is in… personal goodness or God’s gift? They know the right answer, but putting into context for them is so important. Hence, when this question was raised, I felt so LUCKY! I get to be the one to introduce them to the freaking awesome GOSPEL, and they are primed to really understand it. It was awesome to see the amazement on their faces when they understood no sin could keep them away from God’s love.
I always worry about this whenever anyone treats me badly. “What if I do to someone what they just did to me?” They seem so blithe about treating me badly, I deduce it must be super easy to do. I actually blogged about this a few years ago.
To stop that worry, I tell myself that (1) other people’s choices do not magically become mine. Choices don’t work like that. Choices are things you choose. And (2) the fact that I am worried means that I will remember my fears one day, if I am presented with that choice. And (3) as long as I stay active in my life, and make active choices, I won’t wake up one day in some situation I don’t want to be in as far as my own character is concerned.
Just keeping the issue in the forefront of your mind…like you say “being active”… is important. Prayer, too.