“When I was younger, I felt enslaved to the fear of failing, so I constantly tried to succeed or measure up to those around me,” said Minh Le. “I really valued the label of ‘the good kid’ at the church where I grew up. I strived to be the Christian who followed all the rules and made friends with everyone. However, this led to an obsession with what others thought of me. Whenever I broke a rule or made a small mistake, it would crush me. I pretended that I had everything together in an effort to find the acceptance I was craving.
“I knew this façade didn’t work with God. The Lord knew who I really was, and that scared me. I knew He saw everything I did – the anger, fear, lust, and pornography addiction that I was trying to hide from everyone else. I was fearful to come before God because I thought He would cast me out. On weeks when I struggled more, I’d skip church because I viewed God as a disappointed father.
“Meanwhile, my parents were engulfed in serving at our church, and I felt overlooked. I desired attention and affirmation but never knew it was okay to share what was truly going on in my life. As I strived to hear ‘I’m proud of you’ from my family, I hid what I was really thinking or feeling.
“I was searching for identity in my parents’ approval, in affirmation from others, and in friendships at school and church. This unsuccessful search for acceptance eventually led to an unhealthy dating relationship. When none of these things could fill the void I felt, I got angry.
“At my lowest point, I was in an argument with my girlfriend. I remember raising my hand like I was about to hit her. I froze when I realized what I was about to do. I thought I was the nice guy who didn’t get angry. But here I was, completely controlled by my anger. My mask as ‘the nice guy’ and ‘the good kid’ couldn’t hold up, and I was left face to face with my sin. I knew something needed to change.
“I attended The Porch, Watermark’s young adult ministry, with my girlfriend. The speaker got my attention. He shared about his own struggles with openness and transparency from the stage. It was the first time I had seen a pastor speak honestly instead of hiding their sin.
“After the message, I met a group of college students who pursued a friendship with me, and eventually, we began meeting regularly to study the Bible. They faithfully pursued and encouraged me. They modeled what it looked like to find their identity in Christ, openly confess sins, and hold one another accountable.
“Not long after, I agreed to join my new friends on a weekend event called Unashamed to serve the people of Dallas and tell them about Jesus. In the training session, the speaker told us how our sin separated us from God, but that Jesus died on a cross and rose again to bring us back to God and give us eternal life (Romans 6:23).
“My whole life, I believed that Jesus died on a cross, but I hadn’t realized that His death and resurrection were enough to cover my sins. I thought I could be saved because of my good works, and that if I was ‘too sinful’ God would reject me. The Lord opened my eyes to the beauty of the gospel, and I finally understood that it was a free gift (Ephesians 2:8-9). That weekend, I trusted Jesus as my Savior.
“Christ has brought so much redemption to my life. He saved me from my anger, codependent relationships, pornography, and fear of authenticity. My girlfriend and I ended our relationship after realizing the way we were dating was not honoring to God. He has brought reconciliation to my family. Christ has also redeemed my view of His church. I’ve learned that a church isn’t a place you go to pretend but a gathering of imperfect people who are following a perfect Savior.
“Life hasn’t become easier since trusting Christ, but I’m no longer crippled or enslaved by sin. God has given me guidance from His Word, comfort through His people, and strength through His Spirit. I know God is a loving father not a disappointed one. He does not reject me even though He knows everything about me. I now have peace because I know He won’t forsake me.”