Saved from self-righteousness
John Sharpe realised his bad deeds were just as bad as anyone else’s.
As an intelligent, politically astute teenager John Sharpe believed he had the answer to all the world's problems if only the right people, who thought like him, were in charge.
He admits that he was "sickeningly judgemental" and, after all the church sermons he had heard, thought being good enough for God was just not doing as many bad things as his friends had done.
John was very quick to condemn and judge corrupt politicians but, at about 17, he began to realise that he was doing the very same things on a smaller scale by stealing items from his place of work.
"Something strange began to happen in my life," he recalls.
"I realised the bad things I did, which I had always found a way to excuse or justify, were just as wrong as the things that I had so angrily condemned in others."
Through the Bible he was learning that all wrongdoing is sin before God and just one sin makes you a sinner.
"God was slowly convincing me that I was just as desperately in need of his forgiveness as everyone else on the planet. Even when I really wanted to do what I knew was the right thing, it was always such a struggle – one that more often than not I lost," he admits sadly.
Knowing that when he eventually met God, he would stand before Him guilty, was a scary thing for John to face, but along with that realisation he also became aware of how very deeply God loved and cared for him.
"All He was wanting from me was to acknowledge that I could never measure up by my own efforts and if I was to ever be accepted by Him, He would have to take care of my 'junk' himself."
Finally, the sermons about believing and trusting in Jesus alone were making sense. Although, the Bible teaches that sin deserves death, Jesus has come, lived a totally sinless life, and qualified as a stand in, to take the punishment we so fully deserve.
"That is what Jesus dying on the cross is all about and that is why Christians make such a big deal about his death," John realised.
"God sent Jesus to make it possible for us, who he had created in the first place, to return to him and become part of his family.
"All I needed to do was to stop thinking that I could be good enough for God myself and acknowledge that only Jesus could and did do everything necessary to put me right with God when he died and rose again from the dead," John proclaims.?