But God brought Dr. Paul Lim back
By the time he got to Yale University, it wasn’t the logical arguments that made him turn his back on Jesus. It was the way kids in the youth group had marginalized him.
More often than not people’s problems with Christianity don’t have to do with intellectual hang-ups but with the stories of hurt, stories of rejection, stories of people who are supposed to embody the gospel in a compelling and endearing way, they end up doing the opposite,” says Dr. Paul C. H. Lim.
As an immigrant at age 15 from South Korea, he went to a Korean church in Philadelphia with his parents who previously were non-religious but sought support in their transition to America. Even though young Paul gave church the benefit of the doubt, he quickly realized he was being ostracized.
The youth pastor ran a Friday night program he called Triple B — Bible study, Burger King and bowling, but Paul was ignored and sat alone, ate alone and bowled alone.
“I wasn’t wearing the right clothes. I didn’t speak the language. I didn’t have the right haircut. I didn’t play the right sport. I wasn’t part of the cool crowd. I was part of the loser crowd,” he says. “The worst experience was to bowl alone. I would always pray that there would be an even number of kids so that somebody would join me, but when we had an odd number of kids, I would find myself alone on the lane.
“Why wouldn’t the youth pastor come over and bowl with me occasionally?” he adds. “Coming to America was a traumatic experience. But in church, I felt the alienation even more.”
So when his parents drove him to Yale, he was looking forward to ditching God and zeroing in on “hedonism and careerism to the core.”
“I was excited that I was getting the heck away from the church, and I was so excited that I was going to plunge headlong into this intellectual pursuit of the good life,” he says.
When his gray-haired New Testament professor said, “The Bible is a wonderful book but it’s not the kind of truth that you want to hang your life on,” Paul needed no more nails to shut the coffin on his Christianity.
He was an economics major set on making his mark in the banking industry, having a house in Long Island with two kids, two dogs and a cat.
But then his sister got engaged to a seminary student, this bewildered Paul.
“Why would you ever want to marry a guy going into ministry?” he wondered. “It was the oddest things I ever heard. To me, he was loser guy. Secretly, I hated him.”
But Paul’s mom was a vibrant believer, and she always asked him if he was going to church. Over winter break, she cajoled him to do the last thing he would’ve wanted to do with vacation. She asked him to go to a Christian retreat because his brother-in-law would be a speaker.
Paul rolled his eyes and dreaded it. But because he adored his mom, he acquiesced..
Read the rest of Dr. Paul Lim Christian.
Momentarily he did…. He will awaken fully the next round.
I absolutely love this article. It really resonated with me, because just a few weeks ago my 17 year old son expressed his lack of desire to attend youth group. We’ve recently moved to a new state and it’s been challenging for him to connect with the other teens at our new church. In his words, “I expect this at school, for kids to be in cliques and uninviting, but not in church.” His words pierced my heart. I encouraged him to keep attending and if necessary he could attend a youth group with some of his coworkers at Chick-fil-A. He appreciated the support and encouragement. A week after our conversation he shared that a new girl was attending youth group, no one engaging her, so he did. It’s incredible how the very thing that discourage us, the Lord will use to encourage someone else. Thank you for sharing and glory to God for transforming Dr. Lim’s heart and using to him to teach and reach his students for the cause of Christ.
Your story breaks my heart. I have seen and tried to counteract in vain the forming of cliques in the church. I was a pastor in Guatemala and the youth ignored my pleas for them to reach out ot newbies. I could never get them to do it. I would always try to reach out to the newbies, BUT who wants to hang with the Old Fart? Dear Jesus, help us. I’ll pray for your son.
Thank you for your prayers. 🙂
Marvelous testimony, with a very sharp point: how we relate to people directly influences them for or against the Christ that we represent.
I wish many more could understand the importance of that revelation.
Oddly enough churches sometimes have the worst cliques. Great post!