Keith – Good is not good enough
Keith was raised in a household with good Christian values. Respecting and helping each other was what he’d always tried to do. Imagine his surprise then when he discovered that this wasn’t good enough to get him in to heaven.
‘There were some jobs going in the Swansea clerical office. I’d just left school so thought I’d apply as I always wanted a job where I could help people in the community.
‘My time in the pensions and benefits department lasted thirty-one years. I wasn’t due to retire, but things started to slowly change in the civil service. I wanted to leave and they offered me early retirement. I was looking forward to a few holidays and I was thinking of changing my car. I’d been working for a long time so the opportunity for early retirement seemed to make sense.
‘On my first day of retirement I did absolutely nothing! But it was kind of like that for a little while. I did start to think back to my working days – how long those thirty-one years had been. And I asked myself what I had to show for all that time. I felt something was missing.
‘I’d sometimes be driving in my car and pass various churches in Clydach. I missed spending time with people and thought I’d find some sort of community in a church. I knew the time the service at Bethel Church started but I was quite nervous about going by myself. Eventually, when I did go, it was quite reassuring. There were even people on the front door to welcome me.
‘Listening to the preacher came as a bit of a shock though. He said no-one was good enough to go to heaven but that God sent Jesus to save us. I thought that as long as your good deeds are more than your bad you’ll be fine and go to heaven but this wasn’t what God said in the Bible. I was terrified that because of my sin I was God’s enemy.
‘I was no longer enjoying my retirement as I started to see I wasn’t the nice guy I thought I was. God was on my mind more than ever and I knew I needed him so I started to go to Bethel regularly. I’d always assumed I was going to heaven but I realised this was a fairy story – I had to come to God. I often thought about the wrong things I’d done in my life and wondered if God really wanted me.
‘As I carried on going to church I came to understand that if I was sorry before God for the way I’d lived and put my trust in the death of Jesus to forgive me, then I could be God’s friend. I asked God to forgive me and then I knew I was going to heaven. I had peace in my life for the first time. God’s forgiveness is what everyone needs – I want my family and others in Clydach to know this too.
‘I’m still retired and life is not free from problems especially with my health, but I know that God helps me to face the issues and I’m looking forward to heaven where God promises there will be no more suffering.’