The War Within Us
When was the last time someone hurt you or did something to upset you? Did you forgive them? If you’re thinking or saying yes, think about this. Are you still upset about it? Are you still holding a grudge? If you forgave them then none of these are your case, there should be no “darkness” within you, right? Think about that and ask yourself, did you truly forgive them? I forgave, but it took me a while.
I was raised in the church, from when I was born I was surrounded by light of the good in people. As I grew though, I would see Christians act and praise differently. There were Catholics, who did more ritual or ceremony like gatherings rather than free worship, Methodists, who had more strict rules like no non-Christian music and dressing up in suits, and much more. As my family moved and moved, we had to find a new church every time. Each church I went to had different kinds of people and ways of learning and praising the Lord. None of these churches help me with my problems. Though they told me more about the Bible, they didn’t tell me what it meant and how it has to do with my life.
My darkest days where when I moved to Hershey, Pennsylvania. Even though this place looked more at peace than any other had been to, I was not as at peace as others here. This was when I myself was infected with the darkness of the bad in people, and this infection was a nasty one. I had many unanswered questions and the confusion about important things in my life, such as relationships and my life’s purpose, angered me. I didn’t know who I was. I never searched for the answers I needed, and I didn’t talk much with anyone outside my family. To the rest of Hershey, I was a ghost only ever seen in school. But I saw the light in Hershey, and a lot of it. There were so many churches and good people. I didn’t see much darkness. Yet I still had darkness within myself, and I had a hard time believing that the light in Hershey was real.
We found a church from the many in Hershey to attend. This was the Evangelical Free Church of Hershey, or Hershey Free. The way the people at this church taught and praised caught my attention, but I didn’t know why. I attended this church’s Sunday morning services and Wednesday night youth gatherings for a while, but eventually just stopped. When I started going to Hershey Free’s youth gatherings again, later finding that this youth group was called “Core”, I saw true light. The way they taught wasn’t some universal, watered down message about how Jesus died on the cross, they taught everything how it was and how it has to do with us today. And the people here were actually like and followed Jesus, like all Christians should be to actually should do before they call themselves believers. The darkness within me eroded away, I wasn’t really a “ghost” anymore, and most of my questions were answered when I went to a youth trip call the Winter Retreat of 2014. After this fun little trip over the weekend I saw many good things happening to everyone I knew. I saw good things happened to almost everyone but me. This was because what God was doing for me was letting me see all these good things. His gift to me was finally seeing His work in people’s lives. My gift was finally being surrounded by the light I longed for. Seeing God’s work in peoples lives and my own, I made a prayer submitting to Him, and a week later, got baptized in at Hershey Free. But I still couldn’t forgive, there was a force pulling me somewhere, but I didn’t know where, and although God reached out to me, I didn’t know how to reach out to Him. I still had three big questions yet to be answered. How do I reach out to God? What is this unknown force pulling me, and to where? And how do I forgive?
In July, 2014, an event called Challenge was held. It’s a big event held every other year for Christian youth, and each time, at a different location within the country. Thousands come from in and out of the country to this event. This event was the best experience of my life. It taught me how to reach out to God. It also help me find that the force pulling me was a desire to help people out of the darkness and bring them to God, or in other words, evangelize. Nothing at told me about forgiveness, but singing that last song at Challenge shifted something in me. Thousands of young Christians all holding on to each other and praising the Lord together. I remembered that it wasn’t just them that were children of God, it was everyone on the planet. And if God forgave all of his children, than I should too, and I did. Every time I thought of when someone hurt me and/or the people important to me, I wasn’t mad at them anymore. I forgave them, and I easily forgave the people that have done wrong after all this. More importantly, i was able to forgive myself for all the wrong I had done when I was in the dark. This was Gods love and grace that overflowing through me into others. Soon, my desire to evangelize led everyone to be important to me, even the people hurting others. But to evangelize, I had to forgive. Forgiving has given me a big relief and joy in my life, and I’ve seen forgiveness impact others. And even if you’re not a believer, this can apply to you too, to everyone. I believe in the power of forgiveness. I believe it can relieve people of great griefs, and join even the most hate-filled enemies together.