Christina waiting to return to the fold
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."- 1 John 1:9
Also known as a 'falling away', the term backsliding is used to describe the process by which a Christian returns to his/her old habits of sinning.
Sad, but true, is the revelation from many who have 'discontinued' their Christian walk for whatever reason that backsliders are usually treated with disdain among other church members.
"They look on us as if we have leprosy. Some even stop talking to you," said Christina*, who told Family and Religion that she has been a backslider for over five years.
The now 25-year-old woman explained that though she has seen others like her be 'drawn in the mud by so-called Christians', her situation was a bit different from the usual.
"I didn't leave church because I couldn't uphold the lifestyle. My church ended up closing down and since then I never rejoined one.
"Because I was away from the influence and I began meddling in things that I never used to, and before you knew it, I was ashamed to say I was a Christian because of the life I was living, so I answered 'no' each time I was asked," she said.
Christina noted that she had never had to deal with condescending Christians, but was, however, lucky to find those who kept encouraging her to return to godliness.
But according to her: "Though I remain humble and welcome the invitations, even attend services, I have never really made up my mind to fully give my life to God again.
"Until earlier this year when I felt the most powerful overtake of the spirit of Christ while at a church service. It was a great feeling and somehow, though I didn't come to a conscious decision, I have realised that my life is slowly turning.
"Things of the world have somehow ceased to excite me, even when I try my best to participate."
Christina told Family & Religion that though she hadn't said it aloud until now, she believes that she is bring summoned and ushered home to God without her fully making up her mind.
"The song says when God gets ready, you have to move, and I think I'm becoming a testament to this. I've asked God on numerous occasions to help me return, help me live right and walk in my purpose, but I was never able to give up a few things.
"I guess when He decides it's time to take over, then all you have to do is sit and watch Him work His miracles, kill your flesh and steer you home, and though my boyfriend and others may not understand what is happening in my life, I am secretly at peace with what God is doing with me," she said.
And though not fully there yet, Christina still wanted to offer some words of advice to other backsliders:
"Don't be discouraged by the way others may treat you. Sit and have a talk with God. He listens and He understands. Ask for help. If you call Him, He will come."