It is very easy to compare yourself with someone abhorrent to people in general -say, a convicted paedophile, sadistic killer or serial rapist- and reckon that whoever else gets turned away at the pearly gates it won`t be you. Sure, we aren`t perfect -what person is?- but we do try our best to lead a decent life and help others out as best we can. If we manage to do our bit for our religion, so much the better.

The only trouble with that is that it fails to reckon with a God who demands of us 100% perfection -not 51% or even 99%- on pain of being condemned by him at the last. Just one selfish, nasty or dirty thought and the game is over.  Just one instance of failing to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and our neighbour as we love ourself, and the game is over.  


I well remember from my teenage years reaching the point where I was broken by a sense of personal guilt. I had been raised in a Christian home where praying, reading the Bible and going to church were the accepted norm, as was engaging in all sorts of activities for the benefit of folk in need. My paternal granddad had been a drunken and abusive man whose life was turned around by a personal encounter with Christ, but I reckoned I was in a very different category. Until the penny began to drop that the very best I had to offer God fell immeasurably short of the standard required.  The tears said it all as I owned up to a sad failure to make the grade in every area of my life.  

Which was when the tears of grief turned into tears of relief on seeing my load of guilt heaped on a Jesus taking all the punishment that that guilt was due at the hands of God. Such was what his death on a cross had all been about.  How I clung to that in faith and committed myself to Christ as my own personal saviour and lord!  

It meant that there was now a sense of reality about my religion as I was able to tell others of the peace, the joy and the hope that I now enjoyed, such as they too were able to know.

Service for Him

There followed several years of lay preaching -in the open-air and around churches, missions etc as part of a singing group- before I felt led to study for the full-time Christian ministry. My first pastorate was in Edinburgh, where I had been a member and office-bearer for the previous four years, and I am now the minister of my fifth church where it is a joy and a privilege to serve. 

‘Happy, if with my latest breath I may but gasp his name, Preach him to all and cry in death, "Behold the Lamb!"

The Church at which Douglas is the Minister