At some point in time between the years 2013 and 2017, I was acutely aware that something was just not quite right with my life. I've felt that way, before 2013, I guess, but it had become something I just could not ignore. I somehow ended up doing the following:
As I read more about God from the Bible, I discovered, or realised, that I have done things that God finds abominable. For example, God says in the Old Testament that "thou shalt not steal (you shall not steal)". (Exodus 20:15).
I asked God to help me be a better person, if only to end my suffering, if only to feel better. It seemed that I could not help myself feel better, no matter how much I tried. I guess it could be said that I tried to repent. I am still trying to repent.
I think God loves me. He is giving me kindness. For example, I have sunshine most of the time (I need sunshine). And God made the sun. Plus, I grew to believe someone, or some being, or an existence other than my own, died in my place. Like, I believe I deserved to be struck dead after doing things that God doesn't like - in other words, I should have died for my sins (including stealing). But someone called Jesus, whom I would later address as Lord Jesus, suffered the punishment for my sins. I believe God is forgiving. I frequently ask God to forgive me. Lord Jesus has said, "Forgive, and you will be forgiven". So I try to forgive others whom I encounter in everyday life. It could be the staff of a restaurant who abruptly cleans the table I'm at, without so much as a smile at me. Lord Jesus taught mankind a prayer that includes the line, "Father in Heaven [...], forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors". So, I ask God to be nice to that particular member of the restaurant-staff who did not smile at me, who seemed so robot-like to me. I do this in the hopes that I myself am forgiven.
Long story short, and as a way to summarise the above, I note the following:
In my mid-twenties, I felt a desire to know God and experience His love for myself. (Others have written about this yearning more eloquently than myself; I trust I am not alone.)
The question was, "How do I go about it?"
I grew convinced that the teachings of Lord Christ Jesus - written in the Bible - could help me achieve my goal.
So, over the later half of my twenties, I went on a pilgrimage of sorts.
"Sell your possessions and give to the poor," the Christ said.
And so I put my clothes to work, by giving them away to a local branch of Salvation Army.
I wanted to sell a laptop Papa had given me. On my way to send it to a computer-shop, I realised I had left it at a cafe where I had been dining. I decided that was one way to give away my laptop as well, and let the laptop go wherever it had gone, instead of claiming it back from the cafe.
I wanted to put my passport to work as well. I decided it had more use if I sent its paper for recycling, and so I did that.
Naturally, I would face consequences, which I elaborate later in this account.
My friends accused me of being idle and imposed their world-view of a conventional, worldly job upon me. After they recited a verse from the Bible, about how "whoever does not work is worse than an unbeliever", I decided to work among these friends. I had a little over SGD$450 in my savings then, so I withdrew it in denominations of $50, and gave one $50 bill to each of the nine "friends" who had imposed themselves on me. "God gave me this money, take it. I am working now, like how the apostles gave away the fish and the loaves."
On a morning shortly after that, Papa and Mummy engaged some men to send me to Institute of Mental Health (in Singapore), where I stayed under lock and key for three months.
Upon leaving that Institute, I stayed at what the mass media calls a "psychiatric shelter", where I still reside, at the time of writing.
But today - aged thirty - I feel the peace and joy God has given me.
Now it is time for me to bear fruits, so to speak.
Mummy had damaged me with emotional and physical violence in childhood. (For example, she threatened to commit suicide unless my siblings and I behaved as she wanted). I chose to forgive her: a few months ago, I invited her to have a dessert with me, and I shared with her some photographs I had taken. (She liked two of those photographs, in particular).
As the world turned to the Internet amidst the pandemic, I reached out to strangers. Sometimes my message was as simple as "How are you doing today?" Some have told me they find my messages helpful. And I enjoyed discovering brothers and sisters in the Christian family, through web-sites such as LinkedIn.
This account of my pursuit of God is me bearing fruit as well. May it encourage people in this world to reconcile themselves to God, their maker - if they are willing to pay the cost of following the Christ.
Have you ever gotten kicked out of a bar (as in alcohol) before? Before I knew Christ, I was someone who harassed women in bars. I pestered a lady for a kiss and before I knew it, she had told fellow customers about me. And the staff threw me out and refused to let me re-enter.
That was about seven years ago. I was twenty-four years old.
We read in the Bible, "the kingdom of God is about self-control". I say Amen to that. Now I can have respectful friendships with women I meet on the Internet and "in real life". Thanks be to God. I find these friendships more rewarding and satisfying than a reluctant kiss from a stranger at a bar.
Does that mean I don't feel temptation? Yes, I do. On the MRT, I see women wearing figure-hugging clothes. My flesh tells me to squeeze their butt, even without their permission. But do I act on the desires of my flesh? No. I walk by the Spirit, instead of the flesh. I thank God that I am not one of those young men who appear in the news for stealing ladies' underwear, or touching women without permission.
It is written in the Bible, "it is no longer I who live, but the Christ in me."
And, "I have crucified the flesh with its desires."
God calls me to a higher life. It is my duty and honour to obey that call.