I went to a number of different schools during my growing up years, but the one that I attended for quite a while was a Baptist school in the Valley area of L.A. For the most part, I enjoyed going there, and I think it helped my walk with God a lot. However, there was one teacher who made it a bit of a challenge. The kids called her “Mrs. Nun,” because she would remind you of a stern-faced Catholic sister, and she was constantly grimacing and instilling religious fear in the impressionable young minds of her students. She had us watch a bunch of old movies that were made in the 1960’s and 70’s about the end times, and she also taught us her version of several famous Bible stories. One in particular that I won’t forget was her commentary on Noah and the ark. As she told the class this divine tale, she reminded us that although the Lord had destroyed the world the first time with water, the second time He would do it with fire, and that we would all burn if we didn’t receive Jesus as our Savior and confess our sins to Him. However, in her book, it wasn’t just a one-time confession…we needed to keep asking Him for forgiveness for every little thing we did wrong every day, lest we risk going to hell. As you can imagine, this was pretty scary for a young person, and I was really worried about it. Thankfully, when I shared these ideas with my mom, she sat me down and explained that because of the cross of Jesus, I was forgiven of all of my sins — past, present, and future. I can’t tell you what a relief it was to know this, and remembering the severity of “Mrs. Nun” always reminds me of why religion is so damaging and of why it’s so important to focus on the perfect love of the Lord instead.
My friend, there is NO fear in love, and God loves you more than you can fathom! You bring so much delight to His heart that He willingly went to the cross to make you His child. When you said yes to Him, He wiped the slate clean and removed every ounce of past, present, and future shame from your life. He welcomes you to approach Him with confidence and trust that His arms are open and ready to embrace you at any moment — especially when you mess up. No matter how far you’ve fallen, He will always be your Father, and He wants to assure you that you’re going to be okay. If religion has left a damaging imprint on your soul, the overwhelming grace and goodness of Jesus are available right now to heal your heart and restore your joy!