Christian Church / Christianity / Faith / Religion

I got saved too young.

I went to a different church this Sunday. The ad in the paper said that it was an interracial, intercultural, international church. If twenty people in a borrowed sanctuary can be interracial, intercultural, and international, then I suppose they qualify.  The Bishop was quite enthusiastic. Though there was absolutely no need they gave a mic with two large and mounted speakers to blare out his message on 1 Corinthians 1: 1-3; 26-31. He kept talking about being called to be saints of Christ and about how we shouldn’t condemn people because we used to be trapped by sin as well. He then began repeating “Praise God for changing our lives. Praise God if you know what it is to be trapped in sin and to have God rescue you. Praise God if you remember how hopeless you were.” letthechildren3-500x500

In the car, I turned to my husband and asked him if he ever felt that he got saved to young. He said that he does. And I do too. I know nothing but this life. I was saved when I was five years old. All my dark times happened while I was already saved. I struggle with depression, with sin, with anger right now. I don’t know what it is not to be saved. I wonder if my faith would be stronger if I knew what it was like to not know God. To have felt some kind of salvation. But how deep in sin could a five year old be?? And I mean, all my life my family, those around me, my husband’s family, everyone has expected more from me because I am saved. They think that I should be less inclined to do the things they did. That I should be above their sins, their depression. I’m so tired of it all.

I don’t remember feeling Christ renew my heart and mind. I don’t remember feeling lost in sin. I resent God allowing me to feel depression while I am saved and have prayed my heart out to God. Everything they expected of me: I expected God to give to me. I expected God to make sin less appealing, to make depression nearly impossible. And God has disappointed me in the process. Forgive my childish cry, but it’s not fair. Not to me and not to God. God came to give us life more abundant: that means the ups and the downs, the wholeness of life… more abundant. As a Christian, I am not above sin; but I still have to wonder…. am I supposed to be? And if I had experience of being a slave to sin, would my life as a Christian be more fulfilling, more faith-full?

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7 thoughts on “I got saved too young.

  1. See, this underscores one of the huge problems I have with evangelical theology. It creates a dichotomy, and I think a false one, between “saved” and “unsaved.” It treats “salvation” as one magic moment, after which you’re “saved,” and there’s apparently no more work to be done. “Poof!” You’re “saved”! Now you should have “the joy of the Lord”! I felt so lost for so many years because I was supposedly “saved,” too, and yet how could I be, if I felt like so much hell, and struggled with sin daily? Why couldn’t I be like everybody else, and be “on fire” all the time, and be so full of faith, and have no struggles?

    Honest, wise evangelicals — usually the older ones — will tell you that it’s not all like you see with these young excited folks. Coming to the Lord is a journey. There are always ups and downs. We all struggle with sin, and depression, and disappointment, and lack of faith, and dry seasons. You are being saved out of something, always — out of this life, and out of the death at the end. It doesn’t all happen at once. Becoming a Christian, being “saved,” isn’t a one-time, once-and-for-all thing. It’s a process, a growing. Catholic teaching is built on this — we’re a pilgrim church, journeying and struggling towards our reward. I was so blown away when I discovered that.

    • From the Catechism (CCC 1428):

      Christ’s call to conversion continues to resound in the lives of Christians. This second conversion is an uninterrupted task for the whole Church who, “clasping sinners to her bosom, [is] at once holy and always in need of purification, [and] follows constantly the path of penance and renewal.” This endeavor of conversion is not just a human work. It is the movement of a “contrite heart,” drawn and moved by grace to respond t-o the merciful love of God who loved us first. (Ps 51:17; cf. Jn 6:44; 12:32; 1 Jn 4:10)

      This whole section, on Penance and Reconciliation, is powerful stuff.

  2. Life is a journey. While I think some people can be saved at one single moment, for others, like me, it is a long process. Also, being saved doesn’t change us into new, sinless people…it opens our minds and hearts to the realization that God is present in our lives. You are on the right track. Thank you for sharing and helping others with your amazing insights.

  3. Yes, I agree with Joseph. We have misused the word “saved”.

    In Jewish thought, “saved” meant more like “whole”, healthy and protected – physically, emotionally, spiritually. Evangelical christianity has often narrowed the meaning and turned it into a trite formula of “say these words and you are saved from hell”.

    So I too think that following Jesus is a journey. We confess our sin, ask for forgiveness, believe in Jesus and choose to follow him, and we are indeed passed from death to life in a spiritual sense, and we receive the Holy Spirit. But the journey to full salvation (full health and peace of mind) has only just begun. And it never really finishes until we get to heaven. Also just begun is the journey to greater emotional and spiritual maturity and obedience, and greater service of God and other people.

    So may I suggest that your “decision” when you were 5 was a good first step, and now you are on a journey with the Holy Spirit. He will be growing fruit of love, joy, peace, etc, in you. He will be refining your character.

    But we all have different roads to walk, and some are more difficult than others. We all “struggle with depression, with sin, with anger” or other things, but to varying degrees. But we have the Spirit within, fellow travellers to support us, and prayer as means of receiving grace.

    Keep walking, and keep praying and keep trusting, just like the rest of us, and you will get there just like the rest of us. As CS Lewis says, we will be muddy and tired when we get there, but there are warm baths and new clothes awaiting us! : )

  4. You say you got saved too young, so you don’t have those experiences of being saved from sin. Yet you’re going through Hell right now and you resent it. Do you see the duality there?
    As many others have said before me, being saved is not a magic moment of becoming whole. It’s being given a new heart, but not a new flesh. That comes later. Jesus said we’d have trouble in this life. I’m a Christian who’s also dealt with depression, pornography, and escapism. Am I saved? Yes. Do I struggle? Yes.
    That’s the fun of salvation, though. Saved in spite of x,y, and z.
    And here’s one more truth to consider: spiritual warfare rages all around the Godly. Do you really think they’ll stop shooting their deadly arrows at you because you’re a Christian? Or do you think they’ll increase their volleys? They won’t stop. Life won’t stop. So draw your sword and fight back with all the strength and authority of God you have locked away in you.

  5. I also grew up in the church and was “saved” at an early age. I grew up hearing about God and knew I wanted to please Him. Being a believer does not mean we don’t struggle. And I think the church perpetuates the idea that Christians should have it all together. We get the idea that we shouldn’t deal with depression or addiction or anger. Some of us are told that we just have to have enough faith, to “give it all to God” and He’ll deliver us. But sometimes our deliverance means walking through a process to deal with our past, even if that past was not so bad. We grow up with a world view that may not be accurate. As others have said here, this is a journey. Each of us is made up of four aspects of our being…. body, mind, soul and spirit. Often, one interferes with the others and we must take the time to deal with that aspect. Get counseling. Join a support group. It’s NOT unChristian. It’s human. Shame on anyone in the church who would look down on you for honestly acknowledging your struggles. God created the human emotional, mental and physical part of us as well as the spiritual.

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