Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Sunday School (10/25/07)
TITLE: Free At Last
By Beth Muehlhausen
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Sunday School makes me feel rotten. I know Iím just a kid - only nine - but thatís the truth.
Iíll never be as good as David was when he was little. My dad is always on my case, but Davidís father thought he was pretty awesome. David killed that gigantic Philistine, and when he grew up he was even good enough to be King!
Itís all about being good, and Iím not there. Not even close. Sometimes itís like thereís a ďbad guyĒ living inside of me, egging me on. You know?
In Sunday School we read stories about people who lived a long time ago Ė people who wore robes instead of pants and shirts. They grew long hair and beards and never smiled. Sunday School is about memorizing the Ten Commandments and the books of the Bible to get gold stars on a chart. I can earn my own Bible with my name engraved if I donít miss any Sundays for a whole year. I donít care about the Bible Ė Iíd never read it. I donít think I could understand it anyway. But my mom thinks itís a big deal.
Too bad I have to worry about being good.
My Sunday School teacher confuses me.
She tells me Iím supposed to live by the Ten Commandments. Well, Iím not planning on murdering anyone, and what does it mean to ďnot have any other godsĒ be more important than God? What gods? Doesnít make sense to me.
Besides that, she says all this stuff about making a decision for Christ. He supposedly already knows everything anyway, so what difference does it make WHAT decisions I make?
And I donít trust the system. I used to think I wanted to be like David, even though I knew I couldnít - but why wasnít I ever told the whole story? Why was he pictured as this goody-two-shoes guy? I was sixteen before I knew he wasnít perfect! Why did they hide the rest of his story about Bathsheba and Uriah, and how the results of that mess-up went on FOREVER?
Must be okay to sweep ugly stuff under the rug. But I hate that. High school is hard enough without mixed messages.
I guess it all comes down to at least acting GOOD. Thatís the only consistent thing Iíve heard ever since I started going to Sunday School.
Iím very tired of trying to make everyone happy: my boss at work, wife, kids, friends - even my parents. Sometimes I want to hop in my jeep with a sleeping bag and head for the woods - indefinitely. But unfortunately a sense of responsibility calls me back to my senses. Above all, I must be a good boy Ö or at least act like it.
Life is all about pretending. Really.
My wife recently started going to church; I havenít been for over ten years. She says sheís signing the kids up for Sunday School, and herself, too. I never knew there was Sunday School for adults. I feel guilty, like I should go too. But whatís the point? Iím sick and tired of feeling hopeless and trying to measure up to some standard that even Bible characters canít keep.
The doctor says cancer is having its way, and I may have only a short time left to live. Thank God Iíve been attending church and Sunday School or Iíd not have any peace of mind.
For years I was fooled. Church people looked and acted nice, but in their midst I only saw myself as a failure: a low-life, a loser. But now my adult Sunday School teacher, Glenn, is amazingly transparent and so very convincing! He says weíre all a bunch of screw-ups, and life isnít about measuring up but rather knowing and embracing God.
I want to be controlled by God so I can show God-like compassion to others. I want to have a clean heart and God-like attitudes. I want to trust God with my life, even after death. I want more faith, hope, and love.
Recently I melted down, right in the middle of class, and through tears (which isnít very manly) told Glenn and the others how grateful I was to pitch all the pretending and finally throw myself at the feet of Jesus.
Everyone cried with me that day as my heart leapt out from behind a huge barricade of worries, fears and misconceptions. That day I found freedom from bondage Ö to myself.
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