Since we all live in flesh, that fact alone guarantees that each one of us will make decisions and do things contrary to the word of God. It’s just human nature and practically unavoidable at times.
As we grow spiritually, we do get stronger at avoiding the traps of temptation, but we all will still fall short periodically. During this process, others will judge our lives, question our salvation, and criticize our character. Unfortunately, this too comes with the territory and takes a daily spiritual fight to advance in our Christ-like positions.
As we journey, it’s critical to assure we are not handling the mistakes we will sometimes make using the wrong tactics and state-of-mind.
Sometimes, believers can confuse operating in condemnation vs. conviction. There are stark differences between the two that we must keep in the front of our minds.
When we condemn ourselves after making a mistake, we have issued a personal charge to an extended period of mental punishment, blame and rebuke. Condemnation is a tactic from the enemy to make us feel bad indefinitely, walk In unforgiveness towards ourselves and try to make us feel like we are no longer worthy of all that God has for us.
Conviction is rather a gentle “Check” in our spirits from The Lord to aid us in not finding comfort in behavior that doesn’t reflect His Character. We should never beat ourselves up at this nudge but rather take note and work at making corrections in our conduct so that we can continue to grow in Him.
Are you downcast today because of something you did or said to another?
Are you torturing yourself mentally and not feeling deserving of God’s love?
Are you allowing the slurs of others who witnessed what you did wrong to stop your hand and heart from praising our Savior?
Let me encourage you today to know that you’re not the only one! I know what occurred felt unfixable but that’s a lie from Hell and a way to keep you from the comfort of God’s arms. His grace and His mercy are still for you! Stop mentally bashing yourself with condemnation but rather accept the conviction and move on with God! He’s still and always will be for you! That settles it!
I took the time to interview my younger brother who I feel has an amazing testimony! I have been there to watch him evolve from an immature boy to a very polished, responsible and focused man. His challenges as a 2x convicted felon which robbed him of a decade of his life, has now been turned completely around! He gives the Lord Jesus Christ all the credit for where he is today! Be encouraged and share his story with someone who may very well need it!
As a child growing up in Philadelphia, Times were good and times were bad. My mom was and still is a workaholic. She was there, but not there. My Father, well let’s just say that he’d rather do drugs then get to know his sons or, stepdaughter.
There isn’t too much that I can say about my dad. But my mom, she always managed to make sure that, every holiday whether it be Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter or Birthdays, her children had what she could give them. Another good moment is when my sister scared the life out of my brother and I by acting like she was possessed. She painted her face white and wore this all white gown, and came down the steps. When my little brother and I saw her we immediatly started crying and was scared to death! Till this day I still bring that up and we just laugh.
Two things that I despise about my childhood is, not listening! and not paying attention. By age 14 is when it all started. The streets of Philadelphia had me in its cluches. I started smoking marijuana, drinking and hanging with the wrong crowd. I began thinking that I was untoucheble. I was into all sorts of illegal activities! My judgement and my sense of self worth was gone. I cared less about school, authority figures and family members who saw me traveling down the wrong path. I had no care in the world! I did not pay attention or, listen to anyone’s advice.
My first time being incarcerated came at the age of 18. Yes, I was scared but I still had that “I do not care” attitude. I still had a child’s mentality who thought the world was his!
It wasn’t until I heard those huge steel gates close behind me and lock, that I realized that what everyone was trying to get me to see is finally a reality.
I would spent the next 5 years wishing that I would have listened and payed attention.
Being in prison at a young age made me feel like an animal. I did not like it so I started acting out. That rebellion came out of me again. This was in the 90’s so back then sentences were like 2.5 to 3 years in length. My sentence was 3.5 to five for robbery. I ended up doing the whole five years when I could have been releases in 3. All because I wanted to act up.
Three years into my sentence I learned that its not all about me! Those streets didn’t care about me! Those clowns I hung with didn’t care about me either! I discovered that I was in jail because I followed instead of leading. I had to take control of my own life and not end up back behind those walls.
When I was finally released in the year of 1999 I was happy! 23 years of age now, I told myself I was going to change. During my time in prison I grew to let things go quickly. When released, I had no unresolved anger or, depressive issues. I figured hey, God gave me another chance to do something better with my life so, I have to take it.
I signed up for G.E.D classes that I failed! I was jumping from job to job. It was hard being an ex-convict. I felt like life was playing a mean joke on me and at some point the punch line would kick in.
In the fall of 2002, I moved out of Philadelphia, and relocated to Roanoke Virginia. I wasn’t alone! I move down there with a girl I met and her daughter. Most of you know how this story goes, never bring the sand to the beach! That’s what I would hear older guys say but didn’t know what that meant at the time. That joke that I felt life was playing on me only got worse!
That sand that I bought to the beach changed! She started kicking me out the house, calling the police, being dissrespectful, until I ended up at a place and doing things I know I should not be doing.
In the fall of 2006 I ended up being convict of unlawful wouding, and sentenced to another 5 year prison stay. This time wasn’t like the last time. I acually tried to change! I listened and payed attention to those who saw me walking the wrong path. This was the act of pure self defense, but no one knew that except for myself.
Now as a two time fellon, I really had my thinking cap on and my priorities straight! I knew what I needed to do.That second time in prison really opened my eyes wide! While incarcerated I managed to finally get that G.E.D under my belt as well as a trade. I told myself that I was going to take charge of my life and STOP acting like the world owes me something. I was released in the year of 2011. That first year was of course hard having to now put down two fellony convictions instead of one on job applications. I kept my head up though! It wasn’t like I did not have a job, I just wanted a better job. So, I took that G.E.D and went to college in 2012.
By that time I was and still am involved with a beautiful woman! I know she has my best interest at hand and loves me for me.
I graduated college in 2015 as a Communication Design Major and had a job in the field before I graduted making Magazines, Business Cards and brochures for companies in my Area.
I also married my beautiful queen who was the right woman for me that same year. Finally God has recently blessed me with a great employment opportunity with full benefits and I am now in training to become a supervisor. Life is good!!!
Today I feel like there are no more jokes being played. I was the only joke and I played myself! God has been a major factor in my life and he was the missing piece of the puzzle. Without Christ none of this would have ever been possible. The funny thing is that, He has been there all along waiting for me to aknowledge His presence.
The advice that I would give to a young men headed in the same direction I walked is, take a really close look at yourself and analyze your situation. Ask yourself two question: Do I know God? and Do I want to know God?
There is nothing wrong with failure if it’s for a good reason. We are bound to make mistakes, but its not the mistake you made or make that hurts you. But its how you handle the Consequences that follow that make you a better person. I can say that, my actions made me a better person today and for years to come.