My Story: How My Life Changed

I Thought God Hated Me

I spent most of high school as a total jerk.

Joy-Gen Nakamura with Rich Atkinson
Joy-Gen Nokumura (Joy-Gen is second from the right)

 

I spent most of high school as a total jerk. Ever since I was a kid, I had heard about this God — this all-powerful ruler of the universe — whose good side you were supposed to be on. And He had this list of things that He wasn’t down with.

If God Hates the Things I Like, Does That Mean He Hates Me?

I wanted to say things and do things and think things and feel things that I wasn’t supposed to. I concluded that if God hates the things that I like, then He must hate me.

It wasn’t until middle school or early high school that I realized I wanted to do a lot of those things. I wanted to say things and do things and think things and feel things that I wasn’t supposed to. I concluded that if God hates the things that I like, then He must hate me. I felt rejected by God, and my response to feeling rejected was: Screw it. I’ll just live for myself.

Leaning Into Self-Centeredness

I made myself feel better by making other people feel worse. Now it makes me want to vomit: the words that I said to my mom, the ways that I hurt my friends, and demeaning words that I said even to little kids. It was all just so that I could feel better.

The worst part of it was I would dress well and look good. I would strut around campus, and I was good enough at pretending that people actually thought I was a really good guy, and most of them liked me. And then I would just hurt them.

I would often get close to people just to make sure that I had close friends in different groups. That way people would think I was important to them but that they weren’t that important to me.

Discovering a Different Way to Live

After high school, I went to France for a few months and met a Christian girl who was studying there. I watched her relationship with God, and it just seemed so real — she really loved God. I knew that she had flaws and that she wasn’t perfect, but as I watched her life, things eventually started to make sense. I remembered everything that I had learned since I was a kid — that Jesus had died on the cross for my sins.

How God’s Love Overcame My Rebellion

It finally dawned on me that God knew that I was going to like some of the things that He was not down with. And He knew that it would mean that I would be separated from Him and there was nothing I could do about it. So He sent Jesus to come and live a perfect life. He sent Him to die and pay the penalty that I owed — that He knew I couldn’t pay — and because of that, I can have a relationship with God based on nothing else but His love. It was such a disarming experience to have those walls that I put up for years just melt away.

Finding Freedom in God’s Acceptance

Since then, I’ve been experiencing the freedom to love people without fear of being rejected because I am accepted by Jesus. I can love people and let them know that they matter to me and that my security is in God. I can just live in that comfort of being loved by Him, knowing that there is nothing I can do to make Him love me more. There is nothing I can do to make Him love me less.

Since then, I’ve been experiencing the freedom to love people without fear of being rejected because I am accepted by Jesus.

There are times when I still struggle and mess up. I do bad things and hurt people, and I just feel like God hates me or is disappointed in me. I just remember: God knew this would happen. He knew I couldn’t be perfect on my own, and that’s why Jesus came and did what He did for me. The security of that has been so wonderfully freeing.

Next Steps:

Watch Joy-Gen’s story.

How do you think God feels about you? Have ever felt that God hates you? 

If God made a way for you to restore your relationship with Him, would you want a relationship with Him?


Joy-Gen is a California native who graduated from the University of Southern California in 2008. Currently, he serves with Cru at the University of Hawaii, Manoa campus.

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