My pastor said in his sermon last Sunday, “If you think you’re doing OK, take some time to evaluate…you probably aren’t.” This is the absolute truth. Last year my wife thought we were doing just fine. We thought we were “good” people. Productive members of society. We thought we were entitled to certain things. Truth is, we weren’t so good. We were leading lives that couldn’t be pleasing to God at all. Not only were we not the people we thought we were, we were, and are, completely undeserving of God’s grace and redemption found through Christ…but we were offered that gift anyway.
I used to say I believed in God, but I didn’t go to church. I used to say I believed in God, but felt people put too much weight on Christ. I used to think I was a good person and that I had life all figured out. I was wrong.
Last year at this time I was still me, but I was a different me. I was an artist, an equipment staff, a husband and a father, and I still am all those things but it’s like I’ve been born again. Last year I lived a life trying to find satisfaction for myself and it seemed like everyone else was getting in the way. I was trying to build a career and persue hobbies that I thought would bring me happiness. They never did. I smoked, drank, swore, and indulged in media full of filthy, nasty and violent things. I am a webcomic artist and I was working on a comic called Captive that was full of violence, nudity, foul language and suicide. I had depicted nearly every sin imaginable while I was running the comic. All the while I had convinced myself that I was a good, or at least socially acceptable person. You see, the comic was loosely based on my life. Dramatic exaggerations of things I had seen or experienced, so I played it off as an attempt to expose how disgusting human nature really was, never understanding that I was contributing to the things I was pretending to expose.
The comic had a terrible impact on my life. I don’t know if life reflects art or if art reflects life, but it seemed that I was becomming consumed by the comic, and that the terrible situations I put my characters in were happening in my own life. As I spent more and more time working on and promoting my comic, working my full time job, and taking college courses, my wife started to resent me for not spending any time with her or the kids. At the same time I considered her to be an impediment to my happiness. I felt that if she really loved me she would want me to be happy and not try to stop me from doing things that I enjoyed. Our marriage suffered greatly and both of us said and did things that end many other marriages.
The things that happened during this time sent me into a deep depression and stint of alcoholism. I didn’t know where to turn and often considered suicide to the point that I carried a bullet with my name written on the side in my pocket. I eventually turned to God, which is what I should have done from the beginning. It seems like almost instantly things started changing. I was led to scripture from the gospels where Jesus taught how to forgive. I found tremendous comfort in God’s word and the promise of salvation given through Christ. It wasn’t long before I stopped drinking and was talking to my wife about finding a church to go to. She agreed and we quickly found a church. Everything changed.
After we started going we were quickly welcomed and felt like part of a family so we started taking membership classes and getting involved in numerous ways. We now spend a lot of time at the church and our lives keep drastically changing. We quit smoking and swearing and I have no use for alcohol. We were baptized, which was a first to me, and I gave testimony in front of the church. We have a new sense of contentment and well being and a new understanding of love. My relationship with my wife and kids has never been better.
This change has effected every aspect of my life and I’m always eager to share the good news with friends and coworkers. It has even effected my art and comics as I can’t write and draw the same way that I used to…because even know I’m still me, I’m not the same me I was when I wrote comics in the past. I now am working on a comic called TKTC Herod, which stands for To Kill The Christ. It has been a really fun project where I have been writing and drawing about the 3 Magi that went out to find and protect the newborn king of kings, while King Herod sets out to have him killed. I will never again produce the same kind of art I did back then because I can never again be the person I was then. I have been forever changed.
You can check out the comic at www.comicdomination.com or follow any of my comics by searching Rival Comics on Facebook. Sorry if this seems spammy, but I feel that God has given me the ability to draw comics so I have to try to use it to spread his word.