God’s Extreme Grace
The Christian Who Kept
Doing All he Could
To Force God to Reject Him
Hope When You Feel Unforgivable
About this page:
This testimony is extreme. Few people will understand why Jake has acted the way he has. This is because few people have suffered like him or have had the required depth of counseling experience.
So although I understand, I don’t expect many readers to grasp why Jake has behaved like he has in his Christian walk, but I do expect you to be moved by the proof of God’s love revealed in this testimony.
I share Jake’s story not because of how much God loves Jake, (as if to insult God by implying he could love Jake more than you) but I share it because this testimony features the God who likewise loves you with all that he has.
Unlike fairy tales, real people have highs and lows. Real people make great progress and then slip back again. Casual observers cannot understand why, for instance, many former addicts, after enjoying freedom and victory, fall back into their old bondage. What observers could only know if they were inside a former addicts’ skin is the wearying craving for former highs. In the case of abuse survivors like Jake, it is the lingering, nagging doubts about God’s love, the intense fear that God will reject them as so many others have, and the continual, draining inner fights against feeling depraved and unlovable. Like the continual dripping of Chinese water torture; like termites continually gnawing away at a building’s support beams, the accumulative affect of the Deceiver’s malicious whisperings is an enormous challenge to one’s faith. That doesn’t mean we are forced to give in, but it explains why those who have been deeply hurt typically fall, over and over again, and why God keeps forgiving and forgiving.
Jake is in his forties. I have been in contact with him, an average of several times a week, for over a year. During that time, I have gained a deep respect for Jake’s walk with God, even though throughout that time he has had regular battles like that described below.
Although Jake’s behavior has been unusual, I know from extensive experience with people who are guilt ridden that they need exceptional testimonies because they are inevitably tempted to think that they are the worst sinners on the planet and that virtually everyone is forgivable but them.
Founder of Net-burst.net and ghostwriter of this webpage
My father violently killed my eldest sister when she was a baby. The details were covered up and my mother stayed with him, so they were free to expend their sexual abuse and sadism on me. I’ll spare you details but you need a little information to understand me.
I can’t be sure how close to being a newborn I was when my mistreatment began, but it was certainly in full swing when I was still a baby. A sister who survived, recalls being ordered to clean my blood and excrement off the walls after one episode. She saw me in the crib and thought I was dead.
An example of my toilet training was being yelled at while having my bodily movements smeared all over me, including in my mouth. Other times my head was forced into the toilet after it was filled with filth. I felt sure they were going to drown me. Many of these experiences were so damaging psychologically that for years I suppressed the memory. This suppression kept me from understanding why for much of my Christian life I always despised myself and even thought that I stunk to God.
Throughout my most impressionable years and beyond, my parents kept insisting that I deserved the treatment they dished out. This indoctrination from my tenderest years left me so disturbed that during my adult life I would act out such abuse on myself, without understanding why, but feeling that I deserved it.
My parents claimed their abuse was for my own good and was because they loved me. This left me with a deep fear of love – even God’s love. Of course, I knew intellectually that God’s love is perfect and is nothing like what I experienced as a child but, as anyone who fears harmless spiders or snakes can attest, intellectual knowledge does not dispel crippling fear.
By the time I was in my mid teens, I had been sexually abused by my mother and at least eight males. I was addicted to lust of every kind. I was even involved in the occult, asking demons and sexual spirits to have sex with me. I vowed to always be in control and never yield to anyone, not even God.
Nevertheless, at the age of nineteen I had a true encounter with the Lord Jesus and made him my Savior. I had joined the military to learn how to kill people. I would use pages of the Bible as rolling papers for the marijuana joints I smoked. I hated God and I was sure he hated me. I had long since given myself to Satan, thinking that he had power that I wanted. If a Christian would tell me of Jesus I would completely lose it, yelling, cussing, raising my fist and spitting in the air at God. At least once I got within an inch of a Christian’s face and spat on him. The way that Christians did not retaliate made me presume they were wimps.
I joined an army shooting competition. A Christian there was the best soldier I have ever had the pleasure to meet. He was a strong man, and he could run like the wind just like me. I noticed that when he was ridiculed he did not ridicule back, yet it seemed that he was unafraid of anyone who would give him grief. There was a peace about him that seemed to go wherever he went. That is what I craved. He would tell me of Jesus but I just did not get it.
I was posted overseas and while there I read the book of Revelation from the Gideon’s Bible. For months I was fearful least I die and go to hell. I could find no one to tell me of Jesus.
One day I took a turn way too fast on a slick, muddy road. The trailer jackknifed and my jeep started spinning. I was careering towards a three hundred foot drop. “God help me!” I cried, with real meaning for the first time in my life. Suddenly, in defiance of the laws of physics, the jeep began spinning in the opposite direction. I emerged without a scratch, convinced that there is a God who cares. Some unseen force had to have reversed the motion of that vehicle.
After that I had a dream. I was being shot at by snipers and my aunt pulled up in a car and said; “Get in and get saved.” Afterwards, I phoned my aunt and found that she had been praying for my salvation. She asked me to take leave and come home. I flew in and sat with her pastor while he explained the Gospel. In my boot was a survival knife and I was about to use it on him. Something restrained me. I flew back to my base, thinking I must be saved because I now believed there was a Jesus Christ who died on the cross and rose from the dead to pay for my sins. I presumed I was going to heaven but I could not figure out why my life did not change. I hated my life and I hated my sin. I was in despair and could not stop taking drugs. Even worse, I could not change my heart nor the pain that seemed so deep and the reasons for it were still unknown to me due to so many suppressed memories.
The Christian that had been on the shooting team with me was assigned to my unit. He invited me to church, where he gave his testimony. When I returned to my barracks that night I fell on my knees and cried out to Jesus to come into my heart. No one needed to tell me about the need to repent. My sin weighed heavy on my heart. It was as if I could feel the fires of hell rising up into my very soul, scorching my heart. I wept bitter tears, asking Jesus over and over to be my Lord and Savior. Finally I heard the Spirit of God say that asking once was enough.
I got up from my knees, climbed into bed, and had the best sleep of my life. I arose in the morning to find that the black cloud that had followed me all the days of my life was gone. During formation that morning my fellow soldiers could see the joy on my face and asked me what had happened. I told them that last night I got saved and my sins were forgiven.
I could not get enough of God’s Word. I devoured it as a famished man. I lost most of my friends. No one wanted to hang with me. I would always speak of the cross of Christ and share the gospel whenever possible. On Sunday mornings when we were on maneuvers some of the troops would come and get me to preach to them. At first this really frightened me until I found that every time I stood to speak, the Holy Spirit would just empower me to preach the story of Jesus.
Once I addressed a gathering of over two hundred soldiers. I had no training, nor did I have great knowledge, but such was my passion for my Jesus that I could not hold it in. The words would burn as a fire in my heart. My whole life changed drastically. No longer was I a druggie, nor did I even desire drugs. I would spend wonderful times in the Word and prayer, sometimes four hours a day or more.
A carefully edited version of my testimony would be impressive, but though it shames me, every Christian who feels beyond forgiveness needs to know the side of me that only God sees. The contrast is almost unbelievable. So damaging was my childhood suffering that even after I was well and truly saved I still had bouts of screaming at God to leave me alone. Could he not see that I was useless, no good, and stunk? Never having experienced anything different, I was hounded by the deep feeling that God had to be like my former abusers. The scars were so deep and the haunting memories so strong that they kept overpowering any attempt at logic and filling me with the expectation that God would end up acting like my many abusers.
Having been molested by my mother in my infancy was particularly damaging because I remained haunted by the memory of hating the abuse and yet simultaneously being afflicted with physical pleasure as it occurred. For most of my adult life I did not understand that feeling physical pleasure under such circumstances is like hating being tickled and yet uncontrollably laughing. Not realizing that it was a physical reaction, not an indicator of morality, the memory of having felt pleasure – and even the memory bringing me a mixture of revulsion and sexual excitement – kept making me fear that I was unforgivably perverse. But my mistake ran deeper still: I had failed to grasp that Jesus had died for the forgiveness of all sin, no matter how deliberate or perverse or repeated.
Despite growing in Bible knowledge and having wonderful times with God, the wounds of my childhood suffering kept making me feel as if God were setting me up for the most painful of experiences – me falling deeply in love with him and then him rejecting me.
In fact, it seemed to me so certain that God would end up rejecting me – acting just like those in my childhood who claimed to love me – that I often found myself hell-bent on proving to God that he could not possibly love me. Feeling convinced that it was what I deserved, I would actually ask the devil to possess me and tell him to rape me and use me as a whore. And yes, I did this countless times after I was definitely born again.
For my whole life I have craved genuine, pure, tender, intimate love. Yet very often when God presented it in undeniable ways, I would run from it and strike out at him. I would tell God to kill me, because I was just too ugly and dirty. I would cuss and swear at him in anger because he kept saying he loved me.
The fear of God’s rejection and the feeling that rejection was inevitable were so intense that in between beautiful times with God I kept having countless times of doing everything I could to end the agony of never knowing when the rejection would occur. To me, the obvious way to stop prolonging the agony was to bring on that “inevitable” rejection that very instant.
I told God to leave and Satan to be my father because that is what I deserved. I told Jesus that I renounce him and the cross. I often felt as if I had gone too far into sin to ever be restored – back into the occult that I was once delivered from. Yet my Savior refused to hate me but still kept on wooing me.
I was filled with bitterness toward myself for enjoying my mother’s touch when she had sexually abused me as a child. What a torment it is, even now at times. I would hear screaming in my head directed at me, “You whore! Look at your mother! How can God help you?” Feeling repulsively filthy, I would yet again run from Jesus, clenching my fist at him and daring/commanding him to strike me dead as I would cuss at him. I would wake in the middle of the night hitting myself, thinking and feeling that I needed to be punished. I felt sure I was the scum of the earth.
“You’re a liar!” I told God in response to his claims to love me. “You cannot possibly love me and I will prove it to you!” I would cover myself with bodily filth to show God how disgusting I was. I would plunge into porn and masturbation. I would again call demons my father and ask them to punish me. Such was my compulsion to prove to God that he could not possibly love me.
Then I would again come to my senses and repent. And to my astonishment, God always accepted me back. I told him that I do not understand why he has not killed me with the things I have done.
I had always thought that if I had let God get too close to me that he would use and hurt me. He never did.
My wife used to say at times that the Lord had spoken to her. I would reply that God does not and cannot speak to anyone except by his Word. I would claim that visions, dreams and such were most likely from the enemy. I had thought I had heard the Lord speak to me during my earliest Christian years but I had since accepted the teaching of my church that this was impossible. I never considered that if the devil could speak lies to us using the method that God did in Bible times, why could the Almighty and All-knowing God no longer speak truth to us this way?
A turning point came one day when I was about to touch something and I felt the Lord telling me not to. Investigation revealed that hidden inside was a black widow spider.
After initially being exceptionally cautious, I now find that God speaks to me often.
Every time I have heard from him it has always come with Scripture to back it up, just to assure me that it is God who is really speaking to me. Whenever I hear his voice and or see a vision or dream, I always ask, “Who is Jesus Christ?” The response has always been, “Jesus Christ is Lord.”
I always question where the divine encounter is leading me. Is it leading me to a deeper relationship with the one true God or away? Is it leading me to live more holy and pure? Does it line up with God’s Word, and has it come with God’s Word? Then I check myself to ensure that my desire is not to chase after exotic experiences but to run after the living God and have a closer relationship with him. Sometimes the Lord has graciously provided powerful confirmation that I am truly hearing from him. For example, when I was recently ministering to a distressed friend, the Lord gave me a vision about her. To her amazed joy, what I saw was identical to a vision about herself that she had received more than twenty years ago. Not surprisingly, she was profoundly encouraged.
Once I wrote in my journal:
That night, or the very next, I do not recall which, something happened. I know not if it were a dream or a vision. What I do know is that it was real. I was a child and God was holding me and loving me in a very clean, pure, innocent way. I had never experienced that type of love in my life. How it dispelled fear and pain, and brought an overwhelming sense of joy!
Afterwards, I wrote in my journal:
Through such experiences I learned to see God as the Daddy I have always craved but never found in a human.
I now believe that God probably wept whenever I acted out. I think it was not because of the pain I inflicted on him that he wept, but for me and the injuries I have kept inflicting on myself. What love!
Yet my bouts of resisting his love continued. I punished myself, not to try to gain favor with God, but because at times I would feel his love and want to cry and punish myself to prove to him that I am unlovable and unlovely.
Once I had a terrible flashback from my childhood of bodily filth being smeared all over me. I kept asking God in an accusing manner, “Where were you when all this happened?” Then I saw him as the abuse occurred, kneeling beside me, weeping. Later he told me that I was clean and clothed with the righteousness of Christ. I kept arguing with him, “Yes, Daddy, I am wearing the white robe of Jesus’ righteousness but I am getting the inside of the robe dirty from the filth that was put on me, and the filth is bleeding through.”
Soon after, I had another flashback of childhood abuse and when it was over God gave me a vision of himself, the great and perfectly good Daddy, cleaning all of the filth off me with his own hand. It really struck me that in the vision there was no fear of his touch. He was gentler than the tenderest mother. After seeing myself so thoroughly cleansed, I could not argue that I would get the inside of the righteousness robe dirty. Instead, my argument turned to this: “I am clean on the outside but I am still dirty on the inside.”
Before long, I had another vision of Daddy with his own hands wrapping my body and limbs with clean pure linen cloth that had been dipped in the blood of Christ. I felt this righteousness seep into every cell of my being, and he assured me that even the tiniest part of every cell had been wiped completely clean – not just the outside but right to the inside of the smallest parts of every cell, even the parts so tiny that science does not know of.
Then Daddy wrapped me in a large, clean and pure baby blanket, as an infant is wrapped up tight to make it feel safe and warm. He held me to his chest, smiling down on me, quieting me with his love. It seemed as if he was actually counting all the hairs of my head and studying my face and cooing.
I wish I could say that all these wonderful experiences with God have stopped me from ever again treating God so vilely. There have still been times when I have slipped, but God has never stopped loving me. Maybe this is because he would rather set us on high as a trophy of his love and grace than tear us down.
I am crying now for joy and love as I write this. His eyes are full of compassion and love. His arms desire to build up, not tear down. His desire is to see me grow into a man that he can be so proud of. His love is soft. This is not to be confused with weakness, for in his softness and tenderness is great strength. He can hold me in his arms so that I have no need to fear falling. I so much need him to hold me in this holy way.
Yet so often when I have been close to him and felt his comfort, I have been afraid it will turn to pain and rejection. It truly amazes me that his desire is to delight in me as I delight in him. I never had anyone want to delight in me. Nor have I ever had anyone look at me with such eyes of love.
“Why is God so gentle to me?” I have often asked. I’ve been so very angry with myself. Even the reader’s patience with me would have folded years ago at the way I kept reverting to atrocious behavior but God’s patience has kept going.
If only I could say all the countless manifestations I’ve received of God’s enormous patience ended my shameful outbursts against God, but they didn’t. It’s as if I am two persons: one that can accept God’s love and forgiveness, and one that cannot. I’m embarrassed to admit that I have kept flip-flopping from one to the other, over and over and over throughout more than twenty years of walking with God.
As the disciples doubted even after witnessing so many miracles, so when new painful flashbacks come, I still doubt. It blows me away that even if I doubt, he is still so patient with me. Despite the doubts, however, I am able to remind myself of the truth. Gradually, I have come to the point of rarely arguing with Daddy that I am unclean. I just tell him that I feel a certain way, not that I am that way.
Once I yelled out to God that I forgive my mother. The Lord knew I meant it. I had traveled the painful forgiveness road many a time. But this time he asked something else: would I forgive myself for all my real and imaginary guilt?
My decades-long struggle has not been in getting God to forgive me, but in me forgiving myself.
Through all my struggles, Jesus has been visiting me as the tender Daddy that I never had as a child. He has also nurtured me – and continues to – as the most loving and perfect of mothers. At no time and in no way has he ever condemned me. “It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns?” the Word says (Romans 8:33-34).
A couple of years ago I gave Jesus permission to come into every dark area of my heart and open it up so that I could be entirely his. I asked him to go into all the rooms that I have locked away, thinking that he did not see. Nothing was a shock to him. As Jesus began opening the doors to my heart, new memories came that were previously unknown to me. It says in the gospels that Jesus had no need for anyone to tell him what was in people’s hearts, for he knew. Likewise, he knew what was in my heart: pain beyond what even I had realized, and a great sense of shame.
His Word says Jesus has come to heal the broken hearted and bind up all their wounds. I have found this to be true. One of Jesus’ names is Wonderful Counselor. The Holy Spirit is also called Counselor or Helper. His counsel is true and right. He has never failed. He is still in the process of counseling me. He daily walks with me.
I deeply regret the way I have treated my Lord. I have no desire to abuse his magnificent grace. For most of my life I never thought that a man could be a man and be pure or desire pureness, holiness and beauty. It is now coming to me. It is a thing to be attained that is more desired than gold or any false pleasure that this world could offer.
With Grantley’s support, the Lord is showing me the hidden causes of my puzzling behavior. At last, I’m healing from the psychological damage inflicted on me from babyhood right through to my late teens. I have shared my testimony, however, not because I think many will be able to identify with my affliction, but because I hope it will help everyone who is repentant and yet still feels beyond Jesus’ forgiveness to see through those deceptive feelings to the tender heart of God and the forgiving power of the cross. I’ve kept repenting and God’s kept forgiving, through the power of Christ’s sacrifice. He’ll do the same for you.
Making Sense of This – By Grantley
Our neighbor’s grass always seems greener than ours. One of life’s illusions is that everyone else seems more favored by God than us. Few of us would envy Jake’s upbringing but, like me, most of us have had nothing remotely like the powerful experiences with God that Jake has had. His testimony, however, confirms what we see over and over in the Bible: people doubting after witnessing tremendous miracles. Clearly, special experiences with God are not nearly as effective in building faith as we might suppose. Spiritual highs quickly evaporate. Personal miracles just make us more accountable; they don’t lower anyone’s need to hold on in bare faith when tough times come. Despite our temptation to think otherwise, every Christian’s profound need is not for signs but for sheer faith.
After reading Jake’s testimony, someone battling guilt feelings wrote to me:
Some time ago, God speaking through you gave me real hope and changed my life. I am not saying I don’t still struggle at times with feeling false guilt over things Christ has cleansed me of, but God is now very tangible to me and I understand that he is with me no matter what I am going through.
I have discovered that true healing and progress comes from simple, raw faith – the kind of white knuckle faith you must hold on to no matter what. This is the true blessing: keeping faith, no matter what.
Just as Scripture records miracles, not merely for the benefit of those who witnessed them, but for our sake, so we benefit from Jake’s encounters with his (and our) Daddy. Even though Scripture’s affirmations alone should suffice, Jake’s intimate experiences with God confirm to us that despite all Jake’s bouts of defiance against his Savior, he is truly forgiven. And that same God – the God who declares that he is no respecter of persons – will keep forgiving you, if you keep maintaining a repentant attitude and keep putting your faith in Christ’s power to forgive.
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