Crystelle Chapman has lived what many people would classify as a blameless life, but she knows the truth of the Biblical saying that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". Although her sins may be "small", they have convinced her of her need for God's forgiveness and power to live differently.
Crystelle grew up in a godly Christian home where she was taught early on about Jesus.
"I was aware that God always provided for us," Crystelle shares. "I was aware of God. I knew that He was real. I knew that I needed to believe in Jesus because He died on the cross so my sin could be forgiven and so that God could be my Father.
"As a young child, I asked Jesus to be my 'forever friend'. I wanted a relationship with Him."
But even as a follower of God, one can struggle with sin. Crystelle experienced this with her curiosity about sex.
It was not abuse that caused Crystelle to stumble in this area, but a few incidents that polluted her mind.
"For me, as a child, it was one sexual touch by a man and one phone-call from a stranger full of sexual innuendo," Crystelle shares sadly. "On another occasion, I picked up a magazine at someone's house and read it, exposing myself to the sexual content in it. Later, as a teenager, out of curiosity I read novels with sexually explicit passages."
These incidents, though small, seared Crystelle's conscience. She knew that indulging these thoughts was sin and she needed to repent [turn away from these things].
"I am grateful to the Lord that as we confess our sin, we are cleansed and healed. Satan's work to defile and dirty me was destroyed and I am clean and free because of Jesus," She smiles.
Despite her curiosity, Crystelle knew, from growing up in a Christian home, that sex is sacred, that her body belongs ultimately to God and that God wants sexual intimacy to be kept for marriage.
"In my relationships with guys," she shares. "God helped me to stick to my convictions by laying down physical boundaries to protect us. I am so grateful to the Lord that I could keep sex special and that my husband is the only person I have been sexually intimate with.
"I can only give God the glory for this – He gives us strength to stand by our convictions and do what is right even when Satan tries to pull us down, influence us, and lead us off of God's path of right living."
“I know that
me to forgive
others”Besides sexual temptation, Crystelle has also battled bitterness and unforgiveness since being a victim of an armed robbery in 1999.
At the time, she was working at a nursery school, when five armed men held up the teachers and children. No serious injury occurred but Crystelle says she "still had to forgive". She also had to battle ongoing fear as a result of the experience. Reading the Book of Psalms [in the Bible] has helped her to overcome her fear.
"It is very easy to become bitter towards people who hurt us," Crystelle admits. "It is also easy to allow that bitterness to affect one's relationships with individuals or a specific racial group.
"Forgiveness is the solution. I know that God has forgiven me and commands me to forgive others. I know that forgiving others has freed me from the prison that un-forgiveness keeps people in."
"When I look around at people who do not believe in Jesus I know that God has saved me from a lot of difficulties that are the result of disobedience to Him and living independently of Him. He gives me hope – with Him there is always hope and a way out.
"Jesus is a faithful, loving, kind friend who walks with a person through EVERY experience in life," Crystelle states with conviction. "He gave His life so we can have life and be God's children. He doesn't leave us as we are, but challenges us to change so we can become more like Him. He helps us, forgives us, He knows us perfectly and when we come to Him, He does not drive us away. He will never leave us or forsake us."•