I was a bad teenager. Many would have considered me a lost cause. I was an outcast, mostly of my own doing. I didn’t realize it, but this “black sheep” mentality had become a huge part of my life. I even had a profile picture of a black sheep on Facebook that represented me. Today, I changed that picture. Why? Well, because I’m not a black sheep anymore, and I haven’t been for quite some time. I’m loved and accepted and my name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life! I am beloved of God, and He knows me by name. I’m still a sheep, but I will never be cast out again. I belong to the Kingdom of God, and all because my Lord pursued me. He didn’t give up on what He knew I would become: a valuable asset to the glory of God.
Like I said, if someone were to judge my future by my teenage years, they could have easily written me off as a bad egg, or the least likely to succeed. BUT GOD. God NEVER gives up on people. Each of us is made in His image and in His likeness. He loves us all the same, and He desires to have a real and living relationship with each one of us. Of course, that’s why He came to earth in human form as Jesus, so that we could be saved by His sacrifice on the cross. For those who accept His death on the cross as an atonement for their sins, to them He gives the right to be called the children of God! (John 1:12)
That said, there is good reason not to judge someone’s future by their past, or even by their present situation. People may give up on you, but I know that I know it’s not God’s heart to give up. Ever. He’s the God of the impossible Who does the impossible on a regular basis.
Take the guy possessed by a legion of demons. Everyone wrote him off, and rightly so. He was dangerous. He had burned every single human bridge and was an official madman: violent, naked, crying out, cutting himself and unfit to be called human. BUT GOD! GOD came across that lake in a little boat, spoke a few words of deliverance, and rescued the man who was deep inside that shell of a body! (Please read Mark, chapter 5 when you get a chance).
NO ONE is too far gone for Jesus to find them and deliver them. NO ONE. With Jesus, a lost cause becomes a beautiful and useful image bearer once again. Our Redeemer. Our Redeemer. He buys back the people the world calls junk and makes them human treasure. I will never give up on anyone, because GOD will never give up on them, and because He didn’t give up on me.
I want to encourage you today to keep on praying for that wayward daughter or son. Keep on reaching out to the broken, the outcasts, the lost, and the forgotten. Keep loving your enemies, and praying for those who have despite-fully used you. God is infinitely bigger than our tiny judgmental minds. He is stronger than our “reasonable” doubt. His persistent love is unstoppable. And one of the coolest things about God is that He gives that same heart to each one of His children to love others on His behalf! Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34)
Have you given up on someone? On yourself? God’s kind of love doesn’t quit, won’t get tired or frustrated, is full of grace, compassion, kindness, and patience. If that’s how God loves us, Christian, let’s endeavor to love others in the same way and never, ever give up.
Shalom, Big D