It’s all fuzzy, really, the way I met Jesus. I think I was 7 years old.
No, maybe 6.
My mother, who at the time had just previously attempted to end her life when her marriage of 10 years failed due to an infidel of a father, invited my older sister and brother and I to sit on the floor of her bedroom to have “the talk.” I can remember running my fingers through the carpet, trying to focus on each gold follicle of the stained bristles more than the awkwardness of the moment.
As she went on and on about something important or other, I managed to tune her voice to a level of ambient noise used to comfort my impossible task of counting every carpet hair in the room, but responsive enough to address her maternal questions.
“Do you understand?”
“Yes, mom,” we all replied.
“Look at me! Do you understand what that means? Listen. Repeat after me.”
She proceeded with a call-and-response version of the gospel presentation that in my adult years I would become very familiar with and sometimes use.
“Are you a sinner in need of a savior,” my mother quoted as if she had written the track herself.
“Yes, I’m a sinner in need of a savior,” we replied.
“Do you believe Christ died for your sins?”
“Yes, I believe Christ died for my sins.”
“Do you believe Jesus Christ rose from the grave?”
“Yes, I believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead.”
By the time we finished the exercise I couldn’t tell if my siblings and I had just joined a secret society of grave robbers and needed to do a blood handshake or if my mother made up a fictional story to soothe our wrenching hearts from missing our father who’d left us for another woman; another family.
Although it’s a moment of memorable interest, I cannot confidently say that is when I met Christ and was “saved.” All I know is that I was introduced to Jesus and the magnificence and innumerability of carpet hairs all in the same night.
It wasn’t until adulthood that the story of Christ became more attractive than the fray on my mother’s floor. I can’t remember the exact moment, but somehow, I came to understand what it meant to be a Christian.
It was simple, really. What my mother chanted in the call-and-response began to play out in my life in real time.
I knew how to sin and I sinned well. I desperately needed a savior. In dire thirst for deliverance, I acknowledged and reaffirmed my need for a connection with God, but I knew I couldn’t offer anything to fix that broken relationship. My sin split us apart and I needed someone to help me mend it. My mother’s chant offered a solution. Christ, by offering his own life as a sacrifice, can bring me back to God. I only needed to believe that was true. So, I did. I believed and little by little, my fuzzy experience as a young child became more crystal clear.
Chanting led to faith for me, and I believe it can work for you.
Recite these words:
God, I want be in a relationship with you, but I need your forgiveness.
I wronged you with my sin and I have nothing to offer to make amends.
I believe you are offering me a way back to You through your Son Jesus Christ.
I accept Your way. I believe Jesus died to make amends between us.
I know there’s more for me to learn as I grow in a relationship with You, but I need you to lead the way.
My prayer for you is, if you recited those words, you truly believe them.