Five-year-old Sekule was frightened by Grandmother’s warnings about hell. “You must be good,” Grandmother said. “If you aren’t good, you’ll end up in hell.”
“What do you mean ‘end up in hell’?” the boy asked.
“You will end up in eternal flames if you lie or steal,” she said. “You will feel the flames for all eternity.”
Grandmother’s words ignited great fear in the young boy’s heart. He was confused. On the one hand, she said God is love. On the other, she said that if Sekule lied, he would end up in hell. Sekule was afraid because he couldn’t help but lie sometimes.
The boy didn’t know what to do. He couldn’t turn to his parents. They were not Christian in then-communist Montenegro. Grandmother was the only Christian whom he knew in his village.
One day, when no one was looking, he hid behind a bush and scolded God. “I don’t know why people say You are love,” he said. “You aren’t love but a monster. Why did You create me to end up in flames? Am I supposed to be faithful and not lie and do bad things? I can’t believe in You, and I won’t believe in You. You are a monster.”
Sekule was finished with God. He was only 5 and had no interest in God.
Nine years later, at the age of 14, Sekule was sent away to a boarding high school in Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Among the 700 boys at the school, he was the only one from Montenegro. Sensing that he faced an uphill battle as an outsider, he resorted to fighting to gain acceptance with his classmates. He fought nearly every day. If someone even touched one of his ears—and they were a temptation to touch because they stuck out like teacup handles—he attacked viciously. One fight left him with a knife scar on a hand. Sekule also was a bully. When a younger boy received a food package from home, Sekule dangled him outside a dorm window by the ankles until he handed over the package.
After three years of fighting, a desire grew in Sekule to know truth. He wondered whether Grandmother had told him the truth about God. But what was truth? Sarajevo had several main religions: Islam, Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Judaism. Sekule wondered, If God is One, why are there so many religions? He decided to become familiar with all religions to find the truth.
Sekule Sekuli´c is an affluent entrepreneur and faithful Seventh-day Adventist in Montenegro. Read more of his story next week. Thank you for your Sabbath School mission offerings that help spread the good news of Jesus’ soon coming in Montenegro and around the world.