The night a young man’s scream helped save my life is a night I will never forget.

There were about 50 people in the room with a four-person band standing in front of all of us. The band consisted of a singer, guitarist, bassist, and drummer. They had a great energy and got you involved in the music and in the emotions of the room. They helped you to connect on a spiritual level.

I remember the floor had a blue mat on it, similar to a wrestling mat, and several friends were around me enjoying the music and singing along to it. The space we were in was about the size of a small hotel conference room, it just barely fit the 50 or so teenagers. We were in the middle of our spring break mission trip to Ensenada, Mexico, and jam packed into this little space for our nightly worship time.

I think the band played the same 6-8 songs every night we were there. My experience with worship music at the time was fairly limited, but their song repertoire was to my advantage, after the same 6-8 songs for five nights I memorized most of the song lyrics.

The Beginning Stages of My Faith

When I was about 15 years old I began to have an interest in church and in God, the Bible, Jesus and the whole world of Christianity. My family supported my pursuit, but it was primarily a solo pursuit. Sure they would come to big church send-offs, like the one to Ensenada, Mexico, and were a great support but, this was my journey to learn about and experience.

I had some friends in high school that were praying for me and invited me to church and to youth events. Their persistence eventually landed me in that stuffy room in Ensenada, Mexico.

Dealing With My Sin

For all of us, the fight with sin is very hard. Change in my life was necessary, but I didn’t know how to change.

Jesus wants a personal relationship with you…with me, with everyone. And I knew this but didn’t understand what it took. Until the singer of that band asked everyone to be quiet and pray, to listen to what God had to say to each of us.

As I prayed and tried to listen a familiar mantra returned, God forgive me for my sins, forgive me for my sins…

For several months I had this clear understanding that I had sinned and needed forgiveness. There were lies, lust, anger, and many other sins that were moving me away from God. But I couldn’t figure out how to break the pattern of sin and be forgiven. So the mantra remained, “God forgive me for my sins.”

A New Standard

I know there is a standard and this standard is Jesus, but like all those before me, I failed to reach the perfect standard.

Yet I know the beautiful truth: Eternal life as my reward because Jesus took the punishment for my sins. This is the way Jesus designed things, simple yet so difficult to believe and accept as the way to forgiveness and relationship. Fortunately, on that night I finally did.

Accepting Forgiveness Freed Me

Back in that stuffy room full of high schoolers, there was a moment in my life I will never forget.

The band had everyone quite down and be silent. They asked us to be in prayer and reflection with God. After a few minutes of silence passed, I heard a young man scream – JESUS – and I felt a rush of chills cover my body and an understanding of forgiveness came to me that I never had before. Immediately following the scream, God gave me a clear message, you are forgiven accept my forgiveness.

I realized the piece that was missing in my heart was accepting His forgiveness, what He did for me on the cross. Jesus forgave me long before I knew Him in any way. He was waiting for me to accept this forgiveness and turn away from my sins. With this revelation, my confession of sin and acceptance of Jesus into my heart and life, my personal relationship with Jesus truly began. Seventeen years later I continue to learn of His love and forgiveness.

What About Your Heart?

If you struggle with accepting God’s forgiveness, you are not alone. It took me a very long time to realize his love and forgiveness was enough. It is for you too! A relationship with God can begin with a simple prayer like the one below.

Jesus, thank You for loving me when I haven’t loved You. Thank You that I don’t have to earn Your love or earn a relationship with You. I am sorry for the mistakes I have made in my life — the very sins that You carried to the cross. I choose to turn my life around and live for You. Jesus, give me the wisdom and strength to do this every day. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and heart and receive You as my Lord and Savior. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.

Jesus, give me the wisdom and strength to do this every day. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and heart and receive You as my Lord and Savior. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.

If you’ve accepted his forgiveness and made a new commitment, you can share below or contact me directly thislifemapbook@gmail.com. If you’ve already prayed a prayer similar to this, how has Jesus spoken to your heart since that time?

Please share with us what Jesus has done in your heart and life. We would love to hear about your story!

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