Anthony Elliott - Marion, Iowa

Anthony ElliottTrue or False?

by Anthony Elliott 

When I was fourteen my life consisted of two things: school and friends.  I was a good student, one of ‘those’ kids who actually liked school, had good friends, and lived a very sheltered life. My parents made sure that I attended every church meeting possible, and even though they wanted me to go, church was the last place that I wanted to be.  In reality, I lived two lives.  I showed my parents my “clean” life, and my friends saw the “not-so-clean” life. 
Ninth grade rolled around and I started to get farther away from my parents.  School soon became the focus of my life.  Friends let me relieve the stress of faking my home life, and I was able to just be myself around them.

January 2007
It was January when my mom told me that there was going to be a special series of meetings at our church starting next month.  A special series meant that two speakers would talk about Jesus for an hour every night but Saturday…  I just knew that this would be the end of me.  A series usually lasted at least four weeks.  Then my mom really stunned me.  “Oh, I almost forgot to tell you.  Peter (who I had met a few months ago) is coming all the way from Prince Edward Island, Canada to speak in these meetings with your grandpa.”

February 2007
As the meetings went on, I became even more stubborn about not listening to the Bible and what God had to say.  To my annoyance, Peter felt that he needed to take me out to eat and “discuss” some things with me.  After a lot of small talk and how my life was going, he brought up God.  His questions made me think deeper than what I actually said.  I began to examine why I had distanced myself from my parents.  I didn’t have any good reasons.

The last week of the meetings came, and I suddenly realized that if my parents and their church were right, I might not have much time.  According to the Bible, 

“So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

 "But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”

Jesus could return for those who believe in him at any time, leaving those who do not believe behind.  If what my parents believed is true actually is true, I needed to do something.

Wednesday, February 28
 On Wednesday after the meeting, I had two main problems.  The biggest one was my pride:  I wanted to believe that I could escape from my punishment by myself.  I didn’t want this guy named Jesus to do it for me, that would make me look unimportant.  So I tried and I tried to help myself but nothing worked (not for lack of effort).  Unfortunately, that wasn’t what God planned.  He knew that I would be unable to help myself, so he provided a plan.

My second problem was trying to convince myself that the Bible was true.  A question I asked myself was “How do I know that the Bible is true?”  Obviously, you can’t use the object that you are trying to examine as proof, that doesn’t prove anything.  I needed something else, or so I thought.

 The Bible is actually a collection of 66 different books by about 40 different authors.  These authors actually lived in different centuries and so they obviously couldn’t have all gotten together to discuss how to write the Bible.

 In my mind I made a chart with two sides.  One side was labeled “If the Bible is False” and the other I called “If the Bible is True.”  Under these sides I wrote how it would affect me.  The “False” side only had one thing: no effect on me.  If the Bible is false, I could live my life without fear of being judged by God.

 The “True” side had several things under it.  If the Bible is true, that meant that I had disobeyed God.  Because God is just, what I had done must be punished.  But because God is love, he gave me a way out.  He knew that I am just a human, and that I can’t do anything to me right with him.  So God sent his son, Jesus, to take my punishment and put it on himself.  When Jesus took my punishment and then died, it was as if I had already paid for my disobedience.   God viewed Jesus’ death as my death, and my debt was gone.

 Even though my debt was taken care of, I had to accept that Jesus died for me.  (At this point I stopped caring about my pride and focused on Jesus) This would mean agreeing with God that I had disobeyed him and that I deserved to be punished.    Being a normal human, I didn’t want to say that I was wrong and that God was right. But the way I saw it, there were only two choices:  Accept that the Bible is true and that I am wrong, or believe that the Bible is false.

 I accepted that Jesus, God’s son, died for me personally on Wednesday, February 28, 2007.

 After that night, I had peace that I had never had before.  I knew that I would never have to be punished because Jesus had already paid for me.  I’ve had my ups and downs since then, and I still have problems (who doesn’t!), but now I have God to help me through the bad times.  His word gives me comfort and guidance when I need it most.

-- Anthony Elliott
“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.”