I remember when I first heard that Jesus did not die on the cross for “good people.” That was news to me.  As a four-year-old, in an old country church service I learned for the first time that I was a dirty rag headed straight for hell. I didn’t think there was any way I could ever get clean because even at that young age, I had repeatedly been told what a bad girl I was. I didn’t hear any good news that day in church. I didn’t hear the rest of the story for 40 years.

Those people in church sure looked good and they sure thought they were the ones going to heaven. Now I was really confused- was anyone good enough to go to heaven?  

A four-year-old I only need to hear the end of the story. As the truth unfolded, I learned that, Jesus would willingly take the punishment for my/our sin. I shed tears of relief when I heard the whole truth. There was a way to get clean and get to heaven. The answer was in Romans 3:25…all who believed in Jesus were justified by His sacrifice and atonement on the cross.  

I further learned in Mark 9:12 and 2:17, that Jesus said He did not call the righteous, but sinners like me, and maybe you? Salvation is open to everyone, no matter what we have done.

Psalm 107: 10-14
“He saved them from their distress…brought them out of darkness…and broke away their chains.” My chains were around my heart, put there by wrong theology and uncaring, hurtful people.  But God, in His infinite mercy and goodness, set me free. And she lived happily ever after.

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Excerpt from Chapter Four: Hypocrites

The singing lifted me right up toward Heaven. I was spellbound, every one of my senses stimulated. After the songs, a tall dignified man solemnly rose from a high-back chair on stage. He raised a tattered black book high in the air. After a poignant moment of silence, he sternly spoke. “This is the Good Book. This book is about right and wrong, good and bad. And you better choose right.” 

He bowed his head and earnestly pleaded with God to keep the congregation from sinning and for the blood of Jesus to save them all from hellfire. He mentioned good works and lost sheep. I was wondering about the sheep and the blood when suddenly the man slammed his hand down on the lectern so loudly that it startled me. 

He spoke in a thunderous voice, and what I heard frightened this bad little girl. He spoke with such authority that I didn’t doubt a word he said.