Real Love and Genuine Oneness
As a 10 year old I had no real guidance from my parents, so I was always getting into fights at school and doing bad things. I was an untrained, unguided, undisciplined brat; but I didn’t get into real trouble until I was talked into breaking into some summer peoples’ homes and smashing them. We got caught later, and even though my companions talked me into it when I didn’t want to do it in the first place, I got blamed for everything. Because my Dad had to pay $2000 in damages and the dad of the other two kids $4000, no one would talk to me. Everyone hated me and wouldn’t let any of their kids play with me. My family wouldn’t have anything to do with me. It was as if I didn’t exist.
I remember going into my room and opening the storm window and looking up into heaven and saying “OH GOD! Nobody loves me anymore; everyone hates me and nobody will be my friend. You know that I would like to be like You, having Your power, but I don’t want to be above You, for only You deserve to be God, but I want to be just like You and if You will be my friend and play with me, I will let You do with me whatever You want for the rest of my life” then, I went to sleep.
Two weeks later my sister, Dot, came to visit us. She asked me, Charlie, if you died right now where would you go? I didn’t answer her because I knew I would go to hell. She told me, “Charlie, if you call on the Lord Jesus and ask Him to come into your heart, he will come into your heart and grow like a seed”. So I called on the name of the Lord and asked Jesus to come into my heart, and He did.
She also told me that Jesus is a real living person and that I could talk to Him and He would talk to me. My salvation had a real impact on my life. I not only stopped fighting and stealing, I didn’t even have a desire to do so anymore. Not long after this my mom brought me and my sister to some religious place, but I didn’t like the Sunday school classes and used to sneak into the big people’s meeting because I liked singing the hymns.
However, the people that went there weren’t very nice at all when they served coffee and danish. I went to get one but the woman who gave them out said, “No, you can’t have any.” But when a girl that was a friend of her daughter came up, she let her have five and she sent me away empty-handed. As I walked away, I had the sense from the Lord there was a lack of love and oneness here and I needed to seek a place where I could find real love and genuine oneness.
During the next nine years I wanted to know why I was alive, what was the purpose of human life. This desire grew in me until I was screaming this question into my pillow as a teenager. Why am I alive? What’s the purpose of my human life? Is it just to graduate from high school, get a job, get married, buy a house, have kids, work until I retire, live a little while, and die? Is that all there is to human life?
I joined the Navy after graduating and went to San Diego, CA. There as I was walking on the Navy base, two guys in a car stopped me and invited me to a free breakfast. I’d already eaten, but I went with them anyway. When they got to the place, they dropped me off and said to just go inside. I looked and said, “Oh, it’s a church. Well, it can’t kill me for one day.” But to my surprise, when I looked into their meeting hall I saw genuine love and the real oneness that I had been searching for. I said, “Charles, you’ve tried a lot of things in your young life. You have got to check this out.” As soon as I stepped into the room I was home. I was at peace. They offered me food, but I wasn’t hungry. Everyone was singing or praying, sitting at card tables, playing guitars. I sat with 3 other guys and they pushed a song book in front of me and we all began to sing the song, “Do you know what your were made for? Do you every wonder why? What’s the purpose for your being? What’s the reason you’re alive? Do you know God wants to be your life? He wants to be your life. He wants to be your life…” I was so happy I was crying. I couldn’t see the words to sing them. Then all four of us stood up and began calling on the name of the Lord Jesus. Soon after this I was baptized. The Lord had really proved that He was my dearest friend. He brought me to the church in San Diego, into His recovery. Here was real love and genuine oneness. Here he answered all my questions concerning the meaning of my human life that for so many years I had cried out to Him. These Christians took good care of me. They taught me to call on the precious name of the Lord Jesus, to pray-read the Bible, to sing hymns and to preach the gospel. With them I visited the local churches in Tempe, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Sacramento; I saw and experienced the practical oneness and the genuine love of Christ expressed in the Body. Because of this, I saw something of the Body of Christ and from 1973 to 1999 I have been meeting with the local churches. I can never repay the Lord or adequately express my gratitude to Him for all His kindness, mercy and grace toward me through the care and shepherding of all the faithful Christians in the Lord’s recovery. To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and forever. Amen.