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Sharing in Faith: It’s not too late to live for Jesus

Skipper Anding. Photo courtesy of Skipper Anding

Skipper Anding
Photo courtesy of Skipper Anding.

My parents were the most loving parents a person could have. My father was a United Methodist minister and also religion professor at a Methodist-related college. My mother had a double major in Christian Education and Education and was an elementary teacher.

They taught me that all people are loved by God in a never-ending way.

They also taught me that God has certain expectations from us. He expects us to live a holy life. They taught me that the life of Jesus is the wonderful example of how we should live. 

As far as sexuality, I was taught that the only sexual relations in a person's life were within a marriage, so that would exclude all same-sex relations and any non-marital relationships. They said this would bring a more loving and fulfilled life (while avoiding sinful behavior at the same time).

They loved me so much that I wanted to please them in return. I have found it works the same way with God. He loves us so much that I want to please God too. Also, God pledges to protect us when we walk in his paths. I want and need God's protection.

When I was 11 years old, a man attempted to abuse me by pushing into a bathroom stall after first offering money. I was strong at 11, and his attempt was unsuccessful. We know that abused people tend to abuse others themselves. I would say to those who suffered abuse to try earnestly to forgive them. It won't take away all the hurt, but you can break the cycle by loving others instead. It's not too late to live for Jesus, to live as he taught. It never is too late!

I was taught that those who promote the "new morality" are not trying to help others, but themselves. Whenever someone speaks of a "new morality" or says that the morality of the Bible is no longer in effect, I immediately become suspicious of their motives. I know they are not trying to help me.

The first person I met with HIV was a young man in his thirties. He asked to meet with a Christian, and I was sent for. I walked to his office for a brief visit. He had a Bible. I told him how Christ wants us to live a new life, putting our old life away. He said he would like to do that. I told him what really mattered here was not just being sorry for our sins, but having a real desire to live like Jesus and realizing that God sees our hearts and knows if we really mean it. He lived about two more weeks.

I met a young man named Jim at my parents’ home. Jim was a student at a small Bible college and had come to see my dad. He had been a chef in New York City and cooked a delicious meal of cordon bleu in my parents’ kitchen. He was planning to go into the ministry, having recently come to Christ, and was seeking a Bible college to attend. 

He mentioned a serious problem in his life that started in the big city and turned out to by HIV. Jim had not yet selected a denomination. He wanted to stick closely with God’s Word on sexuality, and some recent policies of The United Methodist Church on sexuality bothered him a lot. He wasn’t sure he could be United Methodist. He lived about three more years, and I believe he never wavered and was faithful to God. 

The attempted abuse in my life has given me a special interest in sexuality and a need to try and help others. About the things I was taught: I believe, and that has made all the difference in my life!

Skipper Anding
Ridgeland, Mississippi

Posted December 1, 2014.