I feel I should start this article off with a confession: I am a convicted murderer. And when I say I am a murderer, I mean that I have murdered more people than I can count, and whose faces and names I could never remember. What’s interesting about this is that I am also a police officer. That’s right, I made it through numerous background checks, a police academy, and field training thinking one day I’d be caught, but I somehow managed to slip through the cracks.
I really thought that donning a badge and being on the right side of justice would help me to restrain myself from my murderous habits, but I was wrong. On the contrary, the frequency with which I murdered people actually increased. I found that with this new power and authority, I was slaughtering bums, prostitutes, drug dealers, even my coworkers more often than ever before.
My heart was wicked. I hated God and everyone who bore His image.
My name is Kevin. I grew up in Yorktown, Virginia where a single father raised me. Other than the broken family, we were your typical tv-watching, frozen-dinner-eating, church-going family. I grew up Methodist, attended Bible studies, church services, youth groups, went on youth skiing and “missions” trips; all the things you’d expect from any all-American kid.
When I turned 18, I moved out, started waiting tables to make some money, and began to wade into the waters of being a professional musician. I started a few bands, drank a few thousand shots of Jägermeister, slept with a few dozen women I didn’t know, and by the time I was 23 I was working fulltime as a professional singer, songwriter, and guitarist.
I had it made. I was living the good life, making money at a hobby I thoroughly enjoyed, staying out late and sleeping all day, often waking up with a young lady whose name I couldn’t recall from the night before.
In July, 2001, I met who would eventually become my amazing wife, Lynnette. We hit it off immediately. A college junior, she was on vacation with her family and we met at one of my concerts. We exchanged phone numbers and hung out a little while she was still in the area for the week before heading back home to Pennsylvania.
I really fell for Lynnette in the few days we got to spend time together, and I ended a relationship with a girlfriend because Lynnette had stolen my heart. We did the long-distance relationship thing for two years after which she moved here to Virginia where we lived together. I really thought I had it made then. I was still playing music, making pretty decent money, living with the girl for whom I had flipped, and I was marching through life as a young guy who had it all figured out. We decided to start going to church. Now, I can’t tell you if our desire to go to church was self-gratifying: something we could check off a list so that everyone else thought we really had it all together, or if it was the beginning of the Holy Spirit convicting me in my unrighteousness.
Either way, we attended a false-gospel, prosperity, blab-it-and-grab-it kind of “church” (Bethel Church in Hampton, Virginia) for a few years. In 2005, we got married by the “pastor” there. I was the “worship leader” of a few-thousand member “church”, who gigged late Saturday night and came in Sunday morning smelling like booze and cigarettes. By the grace of God, He saved Lynnette in 2006 despite the false teaching under which we were sitting. Her understanding of salvation was elementary, but she began to understand the depths of her depravity and her need for Savior.
There was a big blowout with the “pastor” who was there, he was ousted, and I used that as an excuse to jump ship. Around the same time, I was hired as a police officer, and we began to search for a different church. We ended up in another church that wasn’t so obviously prosperity driven, but was an apostate word-of-faith church nonetheless (City Life Church in Newport News, Virginia). We made the acquaintance of a wonderful married couple there, which had a beautiful baby boy in late 2012.
Their newborn boy became very ill, and died in December 2012. I was furious. This couple whom we had befriended were wonderful, kind, precious people. How did God DARE to allow this to happen to them if He was so powerful?!
It was then that I began doubting, questioning, wondering if He even existed. If He did, how could He let this horrible, tragic event happen to such a good couple that delighted in His Word? In His unfathomable mercy and kindness, it was then, early 2013, that God began to show me that there are none who are good. Not even one.
By what can only be described as divine providence, I was turned on to a radio show called “Wretched” hosted by Todd Friel. I was big into politics at the time, frequently listening to Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, and heard a couple episodes of Wretched in which Todd would address current events through a biblical lens. As a professing Christian, this certainly piqued my interest. Around the same time, I was also turned on to Doctor John MacArthur, of whose preaching style I had never heard the likes before.
In one ear, I was listening to Todd. In the other, I was listening to Johnny Mac. They were both saying things that angered me in my perceived autonomy, but I knew the things they were saying were true in light of the scripture I was studying. Then it happened.
I was listening to a “Witness Wednesday” episode of Wretched in which Todd and crew head out to college campuses and have evangelistic conversations with students. I heard him trying to convince them that they were wicked, and at enmity with God. As he walked them through a few of the Ten Commandments, I realized that I, too, had broken every one he mentioned. After he used an analogy of an earthly judge having to punish people for the crime for which they’ve been convicted, I remember having an epiphany. Punishment had to be handed out for my sins.
Around the same time, I heard MacArthur recommend for new or professing Christians to read through the Apostle John’s first epistle every day for 30 days. I thought I was a Christian, so I accepted the challenge. It wrecked me. Just a few days in, I realized that I hated just about everyone. In my heart, I had murdered countless image bearers of God. I realized that I said I had fellowship with the Father, but was walking in darkness. That made me a liar. I thought I was mostly without sin, but I discovered that the truth was not in me. I said I knew Him, but I did not keep His commandments. I was a perjurer. A fraud. A hypocrite. A false convert.
Then He saved me. God reached through the abysmal false teaching under which I was sitting, grabbed my cold, hardened heart and ripped it out of my chest. He replaced it with a soft heart that has affections for Him; a new heart that desires to love all the things He loves, and hate all the things He hates; a heart that desired to meditate on His law. He breathed new life into me. I was born again.
Rich in mercy, grace abounding, God, to the glory of His name, made me, a wicked sinner deserving of an eternity of eternities under His wrath and judgment, alive together with the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. By His grace alone, through faith alone, in His precious Son Jesus Christ alone, according to His scriptures alone, to the glory of Him alone, God redeemed a wretched sinner.
My wife and I have walked through several years of sanctification, and are now covenant members with Reformation Christian Fellowship, a Gospel-centered, Christ-glorifying church in which God’s Word is faithfully and zealously preached. After years of unexplained infertility issues, we are currently in the process of adopting a child. We are overwhelmed with gratitude that God would bless us with salvation, each other, a lovely home, a couple fun pets, incredible brothers and sisters in Christ, an amazing church with faithful elders, and an uncountable number of other blessings. May we heed the instructions of the Apostle Paul by “walk[ing] worthy of the calling to which we have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” to the glory of God alone!
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him, all creatures here below.
Praise Him above, ye heavenly hosts.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.