'God loved the real me, not the narrative I had created'

Jacob’s story | A love that leads to truth-telling

“I grew up in an orthodox Christian household. It meant that I always believed that God was there, and I learnt to pray from a very young age. But the liturgy was conducted in Arabic, and I never learnt Arabic, so I wasn’t really hearing the message.

Then my family went through struggles at home, and I saw the ugly side of some people in my extended family – and in the church. I became quite disillusioned by hypocrisy and lies. I became a very angry kid. I guess I wasn’t open to the Spirit of God.

Then at high school, there was a lot of bullying. As well as being angry with everyone, I felt hurt and empty. In my emptiness, I turned to everything I could find, including underage drinking and drugs at the age of 16. It became an addiction. My life went pretty much downhill from there.

A couple of years later, I met a female colleague at work. It wasn’t a romantic interest. But I knew she was a Christian. I can’t remember how I found out, but I knew, so I watched her. I was waiting for the hypocrisy or the double standards. But it never came. She was a genuinely nice, calm person. And I was really taken aback. There was no other side to her. She was filled with grace (and with the Holy Spirit, although I didn’t know that then). It was just inspirational. If anyone tried to gossip around her, she just shut them down. She didn’t engage in any of that.

“I was waiting for the hypocrisy or the double standards. But it never came.” – Jacob

I found it incredible. I don’t know why, but because of her, I started to read my Bible. Perhaps it was osmosis from my colleague. I read all four Gospels, and I was so inspired. I was finally reading the Bible and understanding who Jesus was: the Son of God. And Jesus was a rebel; he was against the religious authorities of the day. He called them hypocrites, which was kind of funny. He was calling out the supposedly religious people, and I found that amazing!

That was the beginning of my journey. I didn’t change overnight. I still struggled with addiction, and I knew I had to slowly address my sins, one by one – all the things I was holding on to. It was easy to find justifications and excuses. But I’m on the journey. I’m in a new church now, and I’ve moved to the country, NSW. I am final submitting to God. It’s a really freeing feeling! I have found a wonderful peacefulness.

“When I accepted that God, in all his greatness, made me and loved me, it was amazing.”

I’ve also become a radical truth-teller. As a child and teenager, I was a compulsive liar. It was a habit. I used to lie about who I was or what I’d done. I think that anyone who hates themselves is drawn to lies. I felt a lot of shame, so I put on a show, and I created narratives and backstories. I tried to become other people, to fit in. Then, at one point, it all came crashing down.

After that, it wasn’t instantaneous, but when I accepted that God, in all his greatness, made me and loved me, it was amazing. God actually loved the real me, not the narrative that I had created. And realising that God knew me and loved me was amazing. It meant that I could grow in loving myself and being authentic. It meant that I could become a truth-teller.



Ephesians 2:4-5 is the verse I always come back to:

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.”

I really love that verse, because for a long time I felt dead inside – unforgiveable and unredeemable. But then I saw that God’s mercy and grace had redeemed me. It was a game-changer for me. I’ve slowly been able to let go of the anger and all the lies. I have understood God’s forgiveness! It has been the most beautiful gift I could ever receive. God’s mercy is so great!”

Jacob’s story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, complied by Naomi Reed. Click to read more Faith Stories.

Ephesians 2:4-5 for Jacob's story


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