If you had asked 15-year-old Brook Kleiman what I believed, I would have replied: “Jesus died for my sin so that I can live with him forever.” Growing up in church, and attending a Christian school meant I had all the “right” answers, but they weren’t a true reflection of what I believed. Deep down I thought I was good enough. I wasn’t drinking or swearing like the other kids at school, and therefore, I didn’t need Jesus to die for my sin. It wasn’t until I came to college that I saw myself for what I truly was, a sinner in need of saving.
I attended the University of Minnesota where I became involved in Campus Outreach (a college ministry). During my sophomore year I began studying the Bible with a group of girls, and saw that their understanding of Jesus was very different from mine. They taught me that sin is not just outward actions but also inward thoughts. Over the course of that year I began to see myself as truly sinful; that all the “good things” I was doing were not able to outweigh the bad (Isaiah 64:6). God showed me that because of my sin He had to kill his one and only Son so that I could live with him forever.
Since my sophomore year of college, my circumstances have changed drastically, but the truths of the gospel have remained the same. As I have become more aware of my sin, I find myself amazed that God would even desire a relationship with me. A verse that has been very comforting to me over the years is Hosea 2:14: “Behold, I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.” This verse occurs in response to Israel’s continual, faithless betrayal of their Maker and King. God’s response to us is always faithful, always full of mercy. He gives us what we don’t deserve, a life forever worshiping and enjoying him.