Diana went to UCLA for undergrad and loved languages so much she majored in Linguistics & Chinese. She currently serves on staff and enjoys all kinds of raw fish, action movies, and hanging out with her weird friends.
I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, even though my parents professed to be believers. We would go to church a few times a year, but we never heard the Gospel being preached and after a while, my family stopped going to church altogether.
It wasn’t until high school that a friend of mine took me out to her youth group. It was the first time in several years that I’d set foot in a church and I mainly went for social reasons but didn’t see my need for God or a savior. While I wasn’t completely against Christianity, I also didn’t see why you had to become a Christian to go to heaven. Christians weren’t really better than the rest of us I thought. They also lied and gossiped about people behind their backs, so it didn’t seem like it mattered whether or not you were Christian. I mean, wasn’t being a good person enough? I didn’t swear, didn’t drink, and tried to be nice to everyone around me. I never murdered anyone, never stole anything, and never intentionally tried to hurt others. I thought this was enough, and didn’t see the need to become a Christian.
I carried this idea with me to college, and during freshman year, fall quarter, I remember having lunch with a friend of mine at De Neve talking about religion. We had both heard of this group called Grace on Campus, and we saw how these people would get up so early every Sunday morning and cause a ruckus outside the dorms as they were waiting for rides to church. We also saw how serious they were about their faith, and would actually make fun of the people who attended this group because they just seemed “too intense” and didn’t know how to lighten up about life. Essentially, I was openly mocking Christians and Christianity.
God definitely has a sense of humor because the following quarter, my roommate, who was attending GOC at that time, wanted me to go with her one Friday night since she didn’t want to have to walk back alone. I honestly didn’t want to go since I really didn’t see the point, but I reluctantly went anyway just so she would have a buddy that night.
When I got there, the first thing I noticed was how welcoming everyone was. While I don’t remember the sermon, the friendliness of the people really stood out to me, and from that point on, I kept going, though mainly for social reasons again. Eventually I also started attending church on Sundays.
As I kept going to GOC and church, the Lord gradually softened my heart to the preaching and I started feeling convicted over my sins. I continued going to GOC my sophomore year, and during this time our pastor was going over the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. Week in and week out I saw the depths of my sin. Scripture says that anytime we are angry with someone, it means that we have murdered that person in our hearts and even if we just lust for someone, then we have already committed adultery in our hearts. Lying wasn’t just something everyone does, it was something that truly offended a holy and just God who doesn’t tolerate any sin. When I saw how sensitive God was to sin, I started thinking about all the sins I had committed in the past, from gossiping about loved ones, to cheating on a test, to getting angry with parents, to destroying friendships, to lying about achievements, and the list kept going on and on. The weight of sin grew and grew over time, and I knew at this point that I truly needed salvation from the condemnation I was going to receive for all my sins.
Thankfully, our pastor and some faithful friends would share the Gospel with me. They said that my need for a savior could be found in Jesus Christ. God sent Jesus to this earth to live a perfect, sinless life. Since Jesus never sinned, He was declared a righteous man. And as that righteous man, He would become the perfect sacrifice to die on my behalf. We are sinners who deserve eternal damnation in Hell, but Christ didn’t deserve any punishment since He never sinned. However, in His great love for us, Jesus took on the punishment that we were supposed to receive and died on the cross to demonstrate His sacrifice. Three days later, He rose from the grave showing that He triumphed over the power of sin. My friends said that if I place my faith in Christ, and trust that His sacrifice on the cross was for me and my sins, then I would receive salvation. I don’t remember the exact moment I got saved, but sometime in my sophomore year I placed my faith in Christ and received His grace and gift of salvation!
After getting saved, I started developing a curiosity about the Bible and started reading it more regularly. I joined a small group and got plugged in and have been a part of GOC ever since. I started out mocking Christianity, but in the end by His grace, I’ve become a dedicated follower of Christ.