Hi, I am Johnny Atys, one of the lead singers for We Want More, and welcome to God Today. Today I just want to share a little bit of my testimony. I was born and raised in France…Paris. So, I don’t know if you guys are familiar with that country, but we do not have a lot of Christians there. It is mostly atheist. And I would say at best agnostic. Because there is a background story between the Protestants and the Catholics. That is why French people decided to get rid of those religious beliefs.
So, born and raised in a Christian family. I knew the Lord, I was fortunate to know God, to know good and bad. What happened is that growing up as a little kid, going to school, I would go and I would tell people, “Hey! Do you believe in God?” And people would tell me, “No. No, what are you talking about?” And when you have that kid mindset, you really say anything. You would be like, “Oh! You are going to go to hell.” And people would be afraid, scared. They would start to share with the teacher. “Hey! Johnny is saying we are going to go to hell.” Keep in mind – I was the only Black in the school, so it didn’t help a lot. On top of being kind of judgmental, I didn’t know any better. I really thought, “You don’t believe in God so you go to hell.”
What happened was, I would be sent to the office, the Principal’s office. Then I realized something. Throughout the years, every time I was saying that, even if I meant it, it would just push people away. At some point, I realize that maybe if someone would have told me something like that, I would probably have done the same thing. I needed to change my perspective. Then I realized something. God first loved us. And He loved us for who we are, but He loved us because He is the Creator. Despite our flaws, God always reached out to us to make us what we were called to be and who we are called to be.
Long story short. I would just say, growing up to be a teenager, then I understood that people cannot understand when there is no love. I had to come from a place of love, from a place of friendship. You know the Bible says, “A true friend sticks closer than a brother.” Because you could feel friendship so people can actually open their hearts. That is when I was able to share the Gospel and Jesus. I realized something. Most of my friends weren’t Christians and would do other things that I wouldn’t do so they would always come to me when they were in a place of hurt.
You might feel like maybe you have been hurt. And maybe you come from a Christian family and your faith goes up and down. One thing I want to encourage is that love is the greatest tool against evil, against judgment, and against fear. You have to come to a place of love. Jesus gave His life for us from a place of love. Not from a place of pride, not from a place of fear, but only love. That is why I want to encourage you. If someone has ever hurt you, go to that place of humility and where you can talk. And share your feelings. I really hope this message will help you. Bless you guys.