Chad Mattson believed in God, but he hadn’t surrendered his life to God. That fact, he says, led him into a figurative ditch as a young man that he almost didn’t escape from.
Over two decades ago, Mattson, now the lead singer of Unspoken, was nowhere near singing the Lord’s praises.
“There's a scripture that says, ‘There's a way that seems right to a man, but in the end, it leads to death,’” Mattson explained. “So, when I read this verse, I'm reminded of the season in my life where I'm living in the basement of a drug house, trying to remedy how I got here.”
Mattson grew up in a small town along the coast of Maine, and although he says he felt the presence of God and believed in Jesus during those times, his life didn’t reflect those beliefs. Instead, Mattson only lived a life of someone who knew about God.
“We have a verse in the Bible that says, ‘Don't be misled. Bad company corrupts good character,’” Mattson said. So, for me, as a kid, and all the way through high school, I didn’t drink [and] everybody knew it. I was always the designated driver. And it's funny that like, you know? You can have your own convictions, but most times they don't last without the power of God in you. And so, it's easy to be misled. It's easy to think that you're going to pull somebody out of a pit, but the Bible says, ‘Man, it's easier to be pulled into a pit.’”
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Quickly, Mattson says, I became an addict – a drug dealer and a rebel. He was all the things he never wanted to be or never thought he would be. Soon enough, he found himself living in the basement of a drug house with rodents running past his mattress on the floor.
“There's so much shame and guilt,” Mattson recalled, “but there's a little voice inside me that says that God's not finished yet.”
Mattson moved back home, and his mother found a man to lead a Bible study for Mattson and his friends who had lost their way. He understood what his mother was trying to do, and Mattson appreciated the gesture, but he didn’t understand how a man who was selling drugs one day would be reading Bible verses the next. But everywhere Mattson went, there was someone telling him about Jesus. There was always a light.
“The beautiful thing about the Gospel is that wherever you're at in life, that's exactly the place in which God opens His arms to us,” Mattson said.
Then, on a mission trip to the Caribbean, Mattson’s life completely changed.
“It was in a 12-by-12 room in the Dominican Republic when I began to open the Word of God, and it's unbelievable,” Mattson remembered. “The transformation that happens; the Word of God is living and active, right? It pierces straight into the heart and the soul of a human being. I remember in that room, I began to change from the inside out supernaturally.”
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Mattson’s relationship with Christ only grew, and soon, he found himself a changed man – a man with a much greater purpose.
“The love of God comes into my life, and it equips me and empowers me and sets me on a path that I couldn't even begin to dream about,” Mattson said. “I have a marriage that's happy and healthy and good. I've got kids, I have a house and a car – like, these are all things that an addict couldn't even begin to fathom.”
Now 20 years sober, Mattson is the epitome of living life to the fullest and walking step by step with God. He unequivocally knows what hitting rock bottom looks like – and he’s also seen what Jesus had in store for him all along.
“I'm blown away that God is able to equip us with what we need to accomplish, what He's called us to do,” Mattson said. “And as I think about the things God's done in my life, nobody is too far gone. Nobody's that far out of reach. It's just one small step towards God.”