Sweet question and letter from one about to know how big is His smile and hugs and warmth...



[Mar 7/2007]

Here is a sweet exchange I got to enjoy recently, in all the beginning of year busy-ness..

Dear Glenn,

First, I cannot thank you enough for your wonderful work on the Think Tank.  I am an avid reader of your material.  I have also particularly enjoyed your audio lectures (I have three hour commutes I used to dread but now I look forward to them!)  You have been a huge blessing in my life.  However I was hoping there was one thing you could help me with.  I know you get thousands of e-mails, but maybe in the next few years (smile) you could drop me a response.  I don't mind waiting.  

I feel a near constant guilt over past sins, mostly things that I did as a teenager (which wasn't too many years ago, I'm in my late twenties.)  I was (especially then and continue to be now, only in more subtle ways) flagrantly disobedient.  I was completely willful in my lifestyle of sin and without any sort of excuse.  I was raised in a wonderful Christian home and fully knew the wickedness of the multitude of hurtful, evil deeds I did.

Now, I believe the Bible 100% and I believe in the God of the Bible 100%.  If God says I can be saved, then I can.  But does the Bible say someone like me can still be saved?  I have repented again and again and again and my life is very different now (thankfully).  But have an intense fear of reading the Bible because I worry I will come across some "exception clauses" that PROVE I am beyond hope, especially passages like 2 Peter 2:20 and Hebrews 11:26, which terrify me as they seem to confirm my worst fears.  

Would you believe the scariest verse for me is when Paul calls himself the "chief of sinners."  Paul did what he did out of ignorance, but I did what I did willfully.  I know I am vastly worse then Paul.  

I get stuck in horribly repetitive cycles of thinking.  I believe if I desire salvation, God will give it to me.  But then I ask myself, "do you REALLY desire it? or are you simply prompted by a fear of hell?"  Do I desire it enough?  How much is enough?  How much do I have to be desiring God before I make the cut off?  

My greatest fear (and the plot of many actual nightmares from which I suffer) is that I will allow myself the pleasure of believing/acting as though I am saved and allowing myself to, so to speak, "relax with God" and simply rejoice.  There are some moments when I imagine what it would be like to meet the Lord and have Him welcome me in, and my heart just wants to explode with joy.  But something in me leaps up and says "Don't get your hopes up."  I am so scared I will spend my life rejoicing over my salvation only to one day meet God to have him tell me, "Sorry, your sins were too great.  You were privileged with so much knowledge and opportunity and ease and comfort and yet you continued to fail.  Your sins were too willful, too disobedient.  You took too long before you came around to repent. You can't be a part of this Kingdom."  There is nothing that terrifies me more.  Nothing.  

And the saddest part of all this is that I don't blame Him if He rejects me.  But it still hurts, because as much as my feeble, hardened heart can want something, I want to be with Him.  

Please, I need to know the truth.  The passages I mentioned seem to be confirming that my sins are beyond forgiveness.  I just want to know what the Bible really says about someone like me.  I can't bear the thought of going through life hoping for the Kingdom of God so much and then having those hopes dashed.  If I am beyond redemption, I would like to know.  

Thank you very much.  You are often in my prayers.

-XYZ

(please don't use my real name.)

............................................................................................................

I replied...



 
hello, XYZ--thanks for the prayers and encouraging words! You email came at a perfect time yesterday, and really was a kindness to me--thanks.
 
see my [comments] to your dear-hearted, earnest question(s) below...


From: XYZ
To: gmmx070101@christian-thinktank.com
Subject: Thanks and a question.

Dear Glenn,

First, I cannot thank you enough for your wonderful work on the Think Tank.  I am an avid reader of your material.  I have also particularly enjoyed your audio lectures (I have three hour commutes I used to dread but now I look forward to them!)   

[3-hour commutes!! Obviously, you ARE being punished for all those big teenage-year sins (wink/chuckle, warm smile)...]

 

You have been a huge blessing in my life.  However I was hoping there was one thing you could help me with.  I know you get thousands of e-mails, but maybe in the next few years (smile) you could drop me a response.  I don't mind waiting.  

I feel a near constant guilt over past sins, mostly things that I did as a teenager (which wasn't too many years ago, I'm in my late  twenties.)  I was (especially then and continue to be now, only in more subtle ways) flagrantly disobedient.   

[Every pre-mortem saint of God is still flagrantly disobedient, friend-- we just 'contain' these before they reach too far 'outward', if you get what I mean. Galatians 5.17 will always apply, before we get our new-life bodies:  

"The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions."  [Tyndale House Publishers. (2004). Holy Bible : New Living Translation. "Text edition"--Spine. (2nd ed.) (Ga 5:17). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.]

I was completely willful in my lifestyle of sin and without any sort of excuse.  I was raised in a wonderful Christian home and fully knew the wickedness of the multitude of hurtful, evil deeds I did 

[minor quibble: just because you knew it was wrong, does NOT mean you had any 'will' over the matter--I know very, very well that the sin I still do today (35 years into this beautiful relationship with this incredible Lord!) is VERY evil, wicked, damaging [only a purer heart can really even SEE this clearly, you know]--to those controlled by such, it seems more 'rebellion' or 'self-assertion' than actual 'moral evil'--but this is a subtle distinction we dont need to get into now... but therapists know all about morally-bad acts which are done as a means of 'self-authentication' tactics of a wounded heart...] 

Now, I believe the Bible 100% and I believe in the God of the Bible 100%.  If God says I can be saved, then I can.  But does the Bible say someone like me can still be saved?  I have repented again and again and again and my life is very different now (thankfully).  But have an intense fear of reading the Bible because I worry I will come across some "exception clauses" that PROVE I am beyond hope, especially passages like 2 Peter 2:20 and Hebrews 11:26, which terrify me as they seem to confirm my worst fears.    

[Perhaps I am missing something here, sweet friend. 2 Peter 2.20 is about apostate false teachers who seduce their students through sexual temptation and wordly lusts [were you a teacher like these in your teens???]. Also, these teachers moved in the opposite direction from where YOU are. That is, they went from 'abject corruption' then "semi-freedom" and then BACK to 'abject enslavement to corruption";  but your pattern seems almost opposite (vague innocence of childhood, to teenage corruption, to post-teenage freedom). I cannot see how this passage can be made to FIT your situation, XYZ.

[And as for Hebrews 11.26, I dont see the connection there either, for good or ill (did you actually MEAN that verse?). Moses is being held up as a model for us to emulate (or actually, as an example of what faith IS--believing in the unseen), and not as a standard by which our salvation will be discredited. Moses was a full 40 years old then, and way beyond the moral ambiguity of teenage years (remember, the 'age of accountability' in Moses' generation was TWENTY years old! Even if the teenage kids at home grumbled about the Lord, THEY were not killed in the wilderness. Anybody under 20 yo was not judged as 'guilty' in the rebellion at Kadesh.)

[But did you mean some other verse in Hebrews? I sorta figured you were alluding to 10.26 ("For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there is no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,  but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries").

[But again, the context of the passage simply doesnt really allow that to refer to a teenage XYZ:

"The KJV translation here, "if we sin willfully" is superior to NIV's if we deliberately keep on sinning, as the words [] overplay the Greek tense. As the context shows (cf. v. 23), the author was concerned here, as throughout the epistle, with the danger of defection from the faith. Most sin is deliberate, but the writer was here influenced by the Old Testament's teaching about sins of presumption (cf. Num. 15:29-31) which lay outside the sacrificial provisions of the Law. Apostasy from the faith would be such a "willful" act and for those who commit it no sacrifice for sins is left (cf. Heb. 10:18). If the efficacious sacrifice of Christ should be renounced, there remained no other available sacrifice which could shield an apostate from God's judgment by raging fire. A Christian who abandons the confidence [he] had at first (3:14) puts himself on the side of God's enemies and, as the writer had already said, is in effect 'crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace' (6:6). Such reprehensible conduct can scarcely be worthy of anything but God's flaming indignation and retribution. This, however, as stated earlier (cf. comments on 6:8), is not a reference to hell (cf. comments on 10:29). [Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (805). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.]

[You didn't actually 'abandon the faith'--you were just ignoring it (or fighting it)... you always still knew the truth, at some level. So, again, this passage sort of has nothing to do with your case...]

[Now, the only --and the most famous (smile)--of all exception clauses in the Bible is the "Unpardonable Sin" passage. I have already written on the Tank that very, very few people today could have the theological sophistication adequate to actually commit this sin, so dont think YOU HAVE done this already! (smile). But look at what Jesus says about what IS 'pardonable':

"I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin."  (Mk 3:28). and "And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven" (Lk 12:10).

Notice there are two classes of sin: (a) one unpardonable one of calling Jesus demon-possessed; and (b) EVERYTHING ELSE! (no 'willful sins' exclusion even). Notice closely that (b) is forgivable...(sly smile)...

And you are NOT in (a):

 "This 'blasphemy against the Spirit' can hardly mean some peculiarly wicked sin. Nor can it imply a formal blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which is certainly sinful but which can hardly be distinguished from similar blasphemy against the Father or the Son. The peculiar element in the story seems to be the combination of the mighty operation of the Spirit and the presence of the kingdom in the person of Jesus Christ. The unforgivable sin is committed when there is dogmatic refusal to see in Christ the work of the Spirit. But this is refusal to accept the Spirit's witness to Christ as the one in whom the kingdom is present. It is not, of course, a simple refusal, for many could say, like Nicodemus, that Jesus was a good man, or even a man sent from God, and not yet believe in Him as the Son of God. This refusal is a blunt assertion of the opposite, namely, that Jesus is governed by an evil spirit and does the work of the devil. Nor is it a single refusal, for many may first deny the claims of Jesus and later come to saving faith (cf. the apostle Paul as a supreme example, who was perhaps so vividly conscious of the greatness of God's mercy because he had been so close to the unforgivable sin). It is a dogmatic, obstinate, and persistent refusal carried to extreme and final lengths.

"Why this sin is unforgivable can easily be seen. It is the sin of refusing forgiveness. All the sin of the human race was laid on Jesus, but the persistent refusal to have it so laid removes one from the sphere of forgiveness. It is the ultimate defiance, the ultimate lie, the ultimate paradox, which inevitably leads to the ultimate judgment; and perhaps one of the ultimate torments of hell will be the realization that forgiveness was there all the time and it was not believed or accepted.

"The descriptions of apostasy in He. 10 and mortal sin in Jn. 5:16f seem to fit into the same category, for in the context of Hebrews the apostasy is a rejection of the Son's divinity (He. 1), and in the context of 1 John mortal sin is probably either a persistent denial of the Incarnation (1 Jn. 4:3; cf. 2:22f) or its practical equivalent in the form of hatred of others (3:15).

Bromiley, G. W. (1988; 2002). The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (4:524). Wm. B. Eerdmans.


So, the logic is rather tight, friend--if you DIDNT commit this probably-impossible-for-you Unpardonable sin, then ANYTHING else you do/did/will do is CLEARLY forgivable...trapped in forgiveness, eh? (conspiratorial smile)...


Would you believe the scariest verse for me is when Paul calls himself the "chief of sinners."  Paul did what he did out of ignorance, but I did what I did willfully.  I know I am vastly worse then Paul.    

 i can see how you would apply this passage to your fears, and how this would trouble you, friend. But the general understanding of this verse, again, doesnt sort of fit you, dear heart:

"To make this correlation explicit, Paul adds the words [greekfont] Christ came to save sinners; therefore, in saving Paul a specific application took place and an example was provided. The example is even more significant because Paul is chief of sinners (for a list of possible meanings for this term and responses to each see Hendriksen). Paul does not mean the first in a sequence, since he was not the first one saved by Christ. He means, rather, that he (notice emphatic) is first in the sense of foremost (see BAGD) in the category of sinners. This might seem like an exaggeration because of the apparently good moral life of Paul the Pharisee. This is not the perspective, however, from which Paul is judging his life and its sin, as v. 13 evidences (cf. Gal. 1:13), or the perspective of Christ as he spoke to Paul on the Damascus road of Paul persecuting Christ himself. Paul's use here of [greekfont]‚ is focused on his having led the opposition to Christ and his people, his having sought to destroy God's plan. Paul regards this classification of himself as foremost of sinners as still valid (present tense); though he is fully forgiven, regarded as faithful, and put into service, he is still the notorious opponent who is so received. Elsewhere he writes (1 Cor. 15:9, 10): "I am the least of the apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by God's grace I am what I am" (cf. Eph. 3:8). " [Knight, G. W. (1992). The Pastoral Epistles : A commentary on the Greek text (102). Grand Rapids, Mich.; Carlisle, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press.]

Did you really 'lead some organized opposition to Christ... and seek to destroy God's plan' among the Jews as a teenager? Maybe you did, but were you REALLY any different than Paul in that? (see what I mean)?

 

 

 I get stuck in horribly repetitive cycles of thinking.  I believe if I desire salvation, God will give it to me.  But then I ask myself, "do you REALLY desire it? or are you simply prompted by a fear of hell?"  Do I desire it enough?  How much is enough?  How much do I have to be desiring God before I make the cut off?   

[I have written in a couple of places (and you will probably hear about it in the audio files, one of these years...smile), about a friend of mine in college who rushed down the stairs in the dorm one day in sadness and frustration. He said he had prayed, asking Christ into his life, 20-30 times, but that he didnt feel he was 'sincere enough'. I was puzzled by this and asked the simple question "don't you think you have indicated your sincerity by REPEATING that prayer 20-30 times????!!!". To me it was so obvious that his VERY WORRY (like YOURS--smile) was more than enough evidence of the depth of his sincerity! The shutters fell off his mind--he GOT IT--and he went upstairs, did it again, and came back down in the confidence of being forgiven, accepted, and welcomed into God's family. Your repenting over and over, your tortured analysis of 'am I there yet?', even your dreams of forgiveness are SO OBVIOUSLY REAL indications of life (to my perspective) that you should put this behind you with a chuckle, XYZ... you will laugh at this some day, as you share this story with others (and there are many like this) who are concerned that they are not concerned enough (smile)...

[But i know this trap, and you just have to reflect upon the vast variety of people who have come to know the peace and acceptance of God--with MUCH LESS intensity as you. Little children may have only a tiny fraction of your 'intense desire', many adults know nothing of such a longing to know and walk hand-in-hand with our good-hearted God... consider yourself graced, friend--and relax in your heart on this matter... faith/doubt and zeal/flatness are a constantly changing mixture in the Christian life... you will ALWAYS have to address this issue, although it will eventually become a comical one to you-- and laugh you share with the great Lover. 



My greatest fear (and the plot of many actual nightmares from which I suffer) is that I will allow myself the pleasure of believing/acting as though I am saved and allowing myself to, so to speak, "relax with God" and simply rejoice.  There are some moments when I imagine what it would be like to meet the Lord and have Him welcome me in, and my heart just wants to explode with joy.  But something in me leaps up and says "Don't get your hopes up."  I am so scared I will spend my life rejoicing over my salvation only to one day meet God to have him tell me, "Sorry, your sins were too great.  You were privileged with so much knowledge and opportunity and ease and comfort and yet you continued to fail.  Your sins were too willful, too disobedient.  You took too long before you came around to repent. You can't be a part of this Kingdom."  There is nothing that terrifies me more.  Nothing
.   

[As i reflected on this, I thought about how to approach this 'your sins were too great' issue. And I realized that I really needed data from obviously (or presumed) saved people, who nonetheless did some really 'big sins' (nothing knowing YOUR sins, I couldnt know where to set the 'evil bar'...smile). Given this--which i consider a sound approach--I thought of the following examples for you to 'size' your teenage sins relative to:

1. David's adultery with Bathsheba and very, very willful, deliberate, and intricate murder of her husband. The elements of this sin-complex, in the life of a very mature believer, stagger the mind with how 'willful' and 'scheming' and 'public' they are. Consider how 'big' this is: he sends his SERVANTS to fetch Bathsheba to have sex with him (very public!). When she gets pregnant with his baby, he schemes to trick Uriah (her husband) into thinking the baby is HIS. When this fails, he tells Joab (via a messenge delivered by Uriah himself!) to have Uriah killed(!). He doesnt even show remorse when loyal Uriah is killed by his willful schemes. Then, he marrys Bathsheba, and in effect, kills his baby because of this horrible sin. Bathsheba has to live all her life, with everyone around her knowing of her adultery. But David is contrite, forgiven, and can still be used as someone who knows forgiveness in Romans 4!  So, maybe your sins were worse than sleeping with a married man, then planning and succeeding in murdering his wife, in front of other people who knew your treachery. But if your sins were 'less than' this, they still fall under the 'not too big to be forgiven' category (smile).

2. Rahab is a prostitute and runs a brothel-inn in Jericho (Joshua 1f). She helps Israel and is explicitly used as a model of salvation in James 2.25 (and she shows up in the geneaology of Jesus). So, maybe you ran a call-girl ring in high-school, and supported yourself by prostitution--in front of everybody. But if your sins were 'less than' this, they still fall under the 'not too big to be forgiven' category (smile).

3. Samson was probably saved, but his life was an atrocity of deliberate cruelty and law-breaking and violence. From forcing his parents to arrange his marriage to a foreign woman (in spite of biblical prohibitions!), to burning fields down by lighting 300 tied-together foxes on fire (torture of animals and destruction of crops--at the same time!), to silly provocations of the Philistines, to having sex with the Delilah prostitute, to his shameful suicide, this guy did a massive amount of big sins--especially for a public figure... maybe your teen years were this wicked, but if they were 'less than' this.... (smile)

4. And last--but not least--there is Manasseh, the most evil king in Biblical history.  

 " Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. 2 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. 3 He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had demolished; he also erected altars to the Baals and made Asherah poles. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them. 4 He built altars in the temple of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, 'My Name will remain in Jerusalem forever' 5 In both courts of the temple of the Lord, he built altars to all the starry hosts. 6 He sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, provoking him to anger.
7 He took the carved image he had made and put it in God's temple, of which God had said to David and to his son Solomon, 'In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my Name forever. 8 I will not again make the feet of the Israelites leave the land I assigned to your forefathers, if only they will be careful to do everything I commanded them concerning all the laws, decrees and ordinances given through Moses.' 9 But Manasseh led Judah and the people of Jerusalem astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites.
10 The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. 11 So the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. .."  (2 Ch 33:1).  
 
"Moreover, Manasseh shed very much innocent blood until he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another (2 Ki 21:16).
 
So, the guy was a serious, scheming, despotic murderer--very willful!--but he did the only sin I consider greater than murder: crimes against children. He killed his son (via burning!)...
 
And yet, amazingly:
 
 " While he was in distress he entreated the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. 13 He prayed to him, and God received his entreaty, heard his plea, and restored him again to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord indeed was God.
14 Afterward he built an outer wall for the city of David west of Gihon, in the valley, reaching the entrance at the Fish Gate; he carried it around Ophel, and raised it to a very great height. He also put commanders of the army in all the fortified cities in Judah. 15 He took away the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the Lord, and all the altars that he had built on the mountain of the house of the Lord and in Jerusalem, and he threw them out of the city. 16 He also restored the altar of the Lord and offered on it sacrifices of well-being and of thanksgiving; and he commanded Judah to serve the Lord the God of Israel. "  (2 Ch 33:12).  


Maybe your teenage years involved wholesale murder and the killing of children, but if they were 'less than' that, you are still in the 'right size for forgivenss' category, friend (warm smile).
 
There are probably other cases not quite as dramatic as these (e.g., Solomon's later idolatry and violation of Mosaic law; demon-possessed Mary Magdalene, witch-craft users in Ephesus), but these cases should show you how "over-achieving" is God's wondrous (and spontaneous!) acceptance and love is!
 
Now, there IS a category of "High-highed" (presumptuous) sin in the OT, which was a capital crime, for which no sacrifice was acceptable--but ALL of the cases above involve those! So, they could still be forgiven--in God's sight.
 
I am sure you get the picture now. I am NOT trying to 'excuse' any wrong doing or to 'trivialize' your sin; rather, I am trying to show you how much bigger God's forgiveness is! to encourage you that (Paul in Romans): "Where sin abounded, grace super-abounded"!...
 


 
And the saddest part of all this is that I don't blame Him if He rejects me.   
 
Actually, he DID reject your sins (by judging them on the Cross, as Jesus took them), but did this so you yourself would have free, uninhibited, and joyous access to this...
 
and, btw, you will have to get used to this feeling, unfortunately... when I deliberately sin against my tender-hearted Savior, time-after-time, each time it seems to get harder to believe that He just 'forgives' INSTANTLY (by a quick glance at the Cross, where my sin was paid for), and is waiting for ME to come 'moping back into His arms'. I still cannot fathom how He cannot 'hold a grudge' for even a few minutes(!... some 'omnipotence', eh?--smile), after I confess my sin to him. But I have never found Him distant--it has always been MY HEART that assumes He is just like us humans, and not his incomparably more beautiful Self!
 
 

But it still hurts, because as much as my feeble, hardened heart can want something, I want to be with Him 
 
Believe me, friend--I know Him well enough by now to know that it is HE who is 'frustrated' at the barriers you have perceived up to know. He longs to take you into His arms -- like David, Rahab, Manassah, Samson, Paul -- and whisper "it's OK now--that part is over"...  He wants to melt your fears with His smile and the "track record" of His forgiveness of 'big wilful sins'... 


Please, I need to know the truth.  The passages I mentioned seem to be confirming that my sins are beyond forgiveness.  I just want to know what the Bible really says about someone like me.  I can't bear the thought of going through life hoping for the Kingdom of God so much and then having those hopes dashed.  If I am beyond redemption, I would like to know.    

I think we covered the 'sins beyond forgiveness' part, right? (smile). There is no reason you cannot start your spiritual honeymoon right now with a Lord who longs to see your heart relax, your smile beam, and your eyes twinkle with the experience of TOTAL acceptance-- "as far as the east is from west, so has our God removed our transgressions from us"! 



Thank you very much.  You are often in my prayers 
 
Thank your again for your prayers, sweet sister!!!
 
And i'll be praying for you the next couple of weeks, as you work through this not-doubt-too-obscure email (smile)... but remember that Jesus is the 'aggressor' here (smile)--He is after YOU! ("Come unto Me...", "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled", "I have come to seek and save that which was lost, and to give My life a ransom for many", etc, etc, etc!!!) 

-XYZ

(please don't use my real name.)  
 
i NEVER DO/NEVER WOULD (even if i get to use this hastily written piece)--
 
let me know if this helps, sweetie... or if something needs clarification--
 
because He forgave ME too!,
glenn
.....................................................................................................................................

She wrote back later:


Dear Glen,

I hope you remember me. I wrote you a desparate letter a few weeks ago re. sins I feel I can never be forgiven.

When I was little, I used to ask my dad "is God bigger" questions. "Is He bigger then you?" "Is He bigger then this earth?" "Is He bigger then this galaxy?" "Is He bigger then a T-Rex?"

But when you grow up, you start to realize that the biggest, scariest things are sometimes things that are inside you. As I slowly come to realize more of what sin is and what it means to God, I find myself asking, "Is God bigger then THIS?" Sure, maybe He can take on Godzilla, but what about this hideousness I have found in myself?

This was what I found myself thinking as I read your letter. This God is a lot bigger then I gave him credit for.

I have been carrying the e-mail you wrote to me around in my pocket for the past several weeks. I find that even though a part of me can sort of accept that logically I am forgivable, there are pieces of me that still want to get back onto their hampster wheel and go right back to the old way of thinking. So I carry your letter, and whenever I feel like despairing, I thinking about the things you wrote :) I know I have a long way to go. But when I recieved your e-mail, I felt so overwhelmed. I thought, "If this man believes I can be saved, then it MUST be true." And I felt an indescribable joy.

I feel there are some things I should tell you. Your website has had a profound impact on my life. I have been reading it for about a year and a half now, almost daily, and I still have not touched on half of it, I think. I don't know where you find all the time in your day to do all you do!!! What kind of vitamins do you take!?!? Yours is the only resource I feel comfortable refering non-christian friends to. And the only place where my deepest questions are addressed. I've noticed that you begin many of your audio lecutres/Bible studies with disclaimers about the time and tediousness in the series you are working on. Often the first half of your study is a recap of the last one. For goodness sake, never change!!! This is the only place I can go where I feel my obsessive compulsive mind is nearly satisfied! You leave no stone unturned and that is just what I need!

I don't know how I can express what you have done in my life. You have been a blessing to me, and I can see God working through you. You must get many letters like this, but I still feel an obligation to express my most sincere thanks.

There are so many other things I wish I could tell you. How I often struggle with anxiety and have reclusive tendencies as well. When I read your writings, I often get the sense that our brains are wired the same way :). I feel I know you so well, that we are old friends :), but you know nothing about me. Oh well. I think we shall have an eternity to become aquanited. And personally, I can't wait.

Peace,

XYZ


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