I was brought up in a Christian home and attended church regularly. I was a believer and went through the Dutch Reformed Church's full Catechism, of which I was a confirmed member.
At the age of 16, I rebelled, much to the dismay of my parents. I filled my mind with secular beliefs and I thought that I was a "pretty good person". In order to explain my existence and purpose in life, I studied books on psychology; Freud, Jung, Adler, Thomas Harris and Eric Berne had all the answers. When these fell short of explanations, I simply adopted an agnostic attitude towards the belief in a God. Satan had me firmly in his grasp.
I carried on this way for many years. I had a reasonable job and I met a woman in 1994 who had been married previously and who had two sons from her previous marriage. She was of the Catholic faith. We lived together in sin and eventually got married in 1996-in a Christian church. Everything was perfect. Here was I-a "good guy", taking on a woman with children. Although she was not a practicing Catholic, I respected her faith. We got married in a Christian church-I guess that I did it to please my parents and hers, but at the same time, I believed that I was really being a "good guy". I really loved my wife, even though I realize that is wasn't a particularly good marriage. I never spent time with my wife. I worked very hard and many times came home in the early hours of the morning, only to shower, shave and get back to work. I justified by stating that I was providing for my family-I was of course, the "good guy". I also joined the Police reserve and spent many hours doing active duty. I was such a "good guy" that I even performed community service, for no remuneration!
I had no idea what marriage was about because spiritually I was bankrupt. So was our marriage. Even though I loved my wife dearly, sin was always present and we had no means to deal with it. I was not able to lead spiritually, as I ought to have.
Eventually we found ourselves, after eight years of marriage, in a psychologist's office. I will never forget that first visit. The realization struck me that my marriage was in serious trouble, which grieved me deeply. I really loved my wife and I wanted to work things out, but she was adamant that she wanted a divorce. I was devastated, desperate and emotionally gutted. I have never ever felt so devastated in my life before, as I did that day.
After leaving the psychologist's office, I drove to work. I had ignored God many years before, but that day I found myself praying to God. I prayed and cried the whole way to work. I gave my life to God that day. I realized that instead of being a "good guy", I was actually a rotten, filthy sinner. I realized that I was sinful that I begged for forgiveness of my sins of many, many years. I realized that I needed a Saviour in my life. I also realized that there was no way that I could face my problems alone.
I was fortunate enough to work with someone who was a Christian and who supported me spiritually. He prayed for me, gave me a Bible and helped me. He also put me in touch with Christian counselors.
I studied the Scriptures on marriage and realized that I had been hopelessly wrong. In the last 3 months of my marriage I learned more about marriage than I had ever known before, through Studying the Scriptures. I tried, in those last 3 months, with my new-found knowledge and faith to restore my marriage, but the damage was too great-the consequence of those many years of sin. We were divorced a few months later.
Today I am divorced, yet I rejoice in the fact that the Lord put me through the trial in order to save my soul. I realize that my salvation was more important to God than my earthly marriage. The wages of sin is death, yet today I am still alive-only because He has spared me, through His grace. I also know that if I did not have God in my life, I would probably be behind bars today.
Today I want to testify to all present that I love the Lord, my God and Saviour. His amazing grace and unconditional love is sufficient for me.