Pastor Kevin Sanders

"He must increase, but I must decrease." -John 3:30

Learning the Hard Way: Shades of Gray

I became a Christian when I was fourteen. My best friend is the one who introduced me to Jesus. From then on, I lived a life that was dedicated to God. I was very passionate on doing just good things and always thinking of how to please the Lord through my actions, words and deeds. During my teenage years, I was so eager to live a life without the stench of sin on me.

During my college days, I would go out with my friends when they had drinking sessions—but I wouldn’t drink. I got teased a lot because while they were having a gulp of beer, I enjoyed sipping my iced tea and chitchatting with them. And whenever they had a conversation about a certain song or artist, I would keep quiet because I was not updated. They would often say, “Walang alam yan diyan, ang alam lang niyan eh praise the Lord (all she knows is ‘praise the Lord’),” while waving their two hands up. I didn’t give much thought to whatever they were saying as long as I knew I was happy with what I was doing.

A few years ago, something came up that changed everything. I gradually began to change back into my old self. I was a senior in college when I met a guy through the internet. We started off as friends and the relationship later progressed into a commitment. The first months of togetherness through online dating, text messaging and phone calls were very colorful for me. I was overflowing with the “kilig” (excitement) factor from head to toe! I was so in love that I was already building my dreams with him. But I hid our relationship from everybody, especially my church family. I knew it wasn’t right because he was not committed to Christ.

Finally we met in person. The relationship went to another level, but it was not pleasing to God. We pushed the boundaries and became very physical. He pressured me to have sex with him, but I never gave in. I was far away from God, but I still wanted to save my virginity for my husband. He eventually had a one-night fling with a girl who would give him what he wanted. This event, combined with constant arguments, led to our breakup.

I didn’t realize how vulnerable I would be after the breakup. Maybe that’s the common dilemma of some psychology graduates like me. We tend to ignore our emotions instead of trying to solve our own inner grudges (maybe it isn’t true for all of us, but it was for me). I had my first job and I decided to move to an apartment with my co-employees. I lived there for five months and started drinking heavily. Once a week progressed to three times a week, until it reached a point when we were having drinking sessions almost everyday. We usually went to different kinds of bars and drank until the wee hours of the morning. I barely had time to sleep before work. I experimented with different kinds of cigarettes too.

I tried another relationship to cover up the pain. It only took about a month for me to realize this only made things worse.

I no longer recognized myself. I had turned away from Christianity, so tired of being the goody-goody youth leader in church. I felt like junk that time. My life was one big mess. I resigned from my work and tried to look for another job far from my family and everyone else who knew me well, far from my identity as a youth leader and far from the Lord. I even had a near death experienced because of alcohol poisoning. While struggling and grasping for breath, I told the Lord “If you really have plans in my life, let me live and wake up tomorrow.” He did let me live again.

Needless to say, my Christian life was filled with shades of gray. But the Lord is so good. He did not allow me to go astray and wallow in misery. He took me from the mud where my soul was drowning. He is a God who keeps His promise. As the bible said, no one can snatch us out in the Father’s hand. I tried to get out of His hand though. But because God loved me so much He did not let me go. And I don’t know what will happen to me if He did.

Now I realize that gray isn’t the color for me. The Lord brings the best colors for everybody to shine. These experiences taught me that no matter how many times I fall, He will renew my being. Even if temptations come my way again, He will always be there to catch me. I may be changing, but He remains the same God he has always been.

So many things and situations can take control of our lives. Peer pressure, alcohol and insecurities among other things can all enslave us. But we can win this battle if we will focus our eyes unto Jesus. Now, I surrender my life to Him again. He rekindled me again to spark a beautiful fire that is burning for Him. Finally, I can say goodbye to my shades of gray.

Kuya Kevin’s Comments

Many students and singles fall into the traps that you’ve mentioned:
1. Isolating ourselves from our Christian brothers and sisters.
2. Compromising and becoming too physical in relationships.
3. Getting influenced by people who are not committed to Christ.

God is indeed faithful! I’m sure you understand the joy of giving your life back to Him. You can now learn from your past mistakes and keep following Jesus.

I’m also glad to hear that you didn’t fully give in to sexual temptation—you will not regret saving your virginity for your husband.


3 Comments

  1. I know the same God – the one who chases after you instead of letting you wander off on your own. No matter how much we’ve sinned against Him, no matter how many times we’ve turned our backs on Him, He still loves us just the same. We may think we are not deserving of His love and His mercy, but really, we are. Not because we are great but because He is. 🙂

  2. There was a point when I would
    isolate myself from church peers and settle for regular Sunday service, and since I am working and too often with unbelieving peers, I couldnt help noticing how tolerant I was becoming of their ways..a case of pride on my part, thinking that I dont need any support group from church because Ive heard it all, read it all.. but I was wrong. Not until one Sunday morning, I was jolted by a sermon and I realize I could slip anytime and I have to be careful, I need Godly men and women who can balance and check my own walk simply hearing what they are going through, simply being with them. Its such a big help. We are never learned or well read enough.

  3. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – I John 1:9 =)

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