Angry and foul-mouthed, Eric wanted the goodness a college friend showed towards him
Selfishness or forgiveness were the two paths before Eric Volker as he compared the examples of his drunk father and uncaring mother with a friendly roommate who spoke about love and grace.
Always alone and feeling "no real love" in his family of five siblings, Eric admits he had "an especially foul mouth and interest in nothing but by myself" when a fellow college student asked him an intriguing question.
"This student asked me if I knew I could have a personal relationship with God," Eric recalls.
Despite scoffing at that suggestion, Eric found this student so interesting that a few years later he invited him to move into his flat.
Eric's angry, foul language was partly fuelled by his parents' arguments and classmates' jokes questioning who his father was. He remembers thinking "I could never be good enough to be a Christian."
However, there was something deeply likeable about his roommate, who Eric recalls "was in a Christian band and took me with him when he played at Christian coffee shops."
For months, Eric did not understand the message of Jesus Christ and yet was deeply impressed by his friend's persistent explanations that no-one is outside God's love or forgiveness, if they would only believe and receive it by surrendering to Jesus.
Then in one such conversation after a coffee shop band gig, Eric remembers he had a 'light bulb' moment: "In an explosion of understanding in my brain, I knew what knowing Jesus was all about."
As he believed and surrendered himself to the fact that God the Son, Jesus Christ, had forgiven his sins, Eric says, "I was changed forever."
“My foul mind and mouth was made clear virtually overnight. My heart was filled with such love”"My foul mind and mouth was made clear virtually overnight. My heart was filled with such love, just as Romans chapter 5, verse 5, says: 'God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.'"
Though the love God gave him for people, Eric began enthusiastically telling people about Jesus and His forgiveness. He also wanted to obey God out of love and gratefulness for what He had given him.
"I carried a Bible everywhere because I was hungry to understand the Word of God and I just wanted to please God and do what He said," Eric explains.
"As I read the Bible, God taught me how to forgive others and myself by showing me things that displeased Him and enabled me to obey Him."
Despite adverse circumstances of life, Eric says God's faithfulness has "encouraged me to praise and thank God, as He always reminds me how much He loves me through the overcoming power of the Holy Spirit."
Spiritually speaking, Eric understands that God is his loving heavenly Father, who has removed all doubt about his identity.
"No matter what other people think of me and treat me I am valued and loved by an amazing God who continues to graciously forgive me and train me in His ways. He only wants the very best for me," Eric ends thankfully.