After about 40 years in the Seventh-day Adventist Church (in the Southern California area), I left the church to find Jesus.
I had experienced and observed so many absolutely cruel things in my realm of Seventh-day Adventist relationships, that the only sane choice seemed to be to find a church that honored the commandment to “love one another” and I did…within the loving arms of a Sunday-keeping fellowship. The only thing that bothered me was the Sabbath. “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy” echoed through my mind and possessed my studies.
As a child I felt the greater presence of God in my life. I believe that because I had some godly people praying for me, I survived my childhood of an alcoholic mother with bizarre and frightening behaviors, an absent father and later in my adult life a shattering divorce. These experiences left me feeling unloved and unworthy no matter how hard I tried to be good enough to be loved. I have had Christian counseling for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the counselor wept with me during many of the sessions not understanding how I survived. He told me that the severity of my home experiences is something most people would not live through.
I left the church to find Jesus, now, look at what Jesus did… to bring me back to truth: I couldn’t find anywhere in the Bible that the Sabbath was changed from Saturday to Sunday, so that I could enjoy (with a happy heart and a clear conscience) worshiping with my Sunday-keeping church. So, I began the journey back to the Seventh-day Adventist faith.
I discovered that when I used my reasons to not obey the Ten Commandments, that I was practicing idolatry. I was worshiping my excuses instead of God. Using sad memories and past relationship failures as an excuse to not obey God is wrong. Harboring unforgiveness for wrongs done is an excuse. I learned that when I forgive bad things in my heart, it doesn’t mean that the person was right to do them. It means that I forgive, as Jesus forgives me. I learned that anything that keeps me from obedience pure and simple is sin.
The over-riding theme in my healing process is this: Jesus Christ purchased me with His blood. He wants me? Yes, at last I am loved. Jesus loves me. Jesus loves me not because I am good enough to be loved, but for free, like a present, and I want to keep His commandments out of gratitude. Not only the commandment to love one another but all Ten Commandments, too. The compelling story of salvation fills my conscious mind and eclipses human failings and haunting memories. I have chosen to allow Christ to heal my heart and make me sensitive for others who I might be able to help. Scars from my terrifying past are healing as I have resolved to not allow any human failing to keep me from the power of truth.
If you are praying for someone the Lord has brought to your mind, please continue to do it. You never know the long-range effect your prayers may have on someone’s life. If you are discouraged or just plain mad I want you to know that I care about you and you are important to the church. I will pray the Lord will help you get started in the healing process.
By Vivienne Evans
Vivienne and her husband, Howard, were baptized and united with the Wenatchee WA Seventh-day Adventist Church in 2002.