he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off….(Mt 18:13).
I have gotten easily annoyed by people who stray from God. I have thought, why are you acting in such rebellion? What’s wrong with you?
My attitude only reveals the depth of my own shallow heart. It only shows how much further I have to grow in grace for others who struggle with sin, just like me. It only reveals how much pride has puffed up in my own heart positioning myself as better than someone who strays.
I often feel better about myself because I haven’t committed such sins as, x, y or z. In my own pride, I have placed people outside of God’s redemption if they go to such irredeemable places (in my mind, not God’s). I have believed them to be unworthy of such positions in ministry because of their past failures. Oh, how foolish I have been! Did not God redeem a murderous adulterer for His glory and use Him to lead and guide His people? Did not God redeem the past of a harlot and use her to bring forth children who would be in the line of the Messiah? God took Moses, a coward and a murderer and used him for His namesake. God took Peter, a total failure. A man who betrayed the risen Christ and restored Him fully with HIs grace.
It is a lie for you to believe that your past will forever define your future in the kingdom of God. Will you suffer consequences for decisions made in sinful rebellion? Yes, however, those decisions are never too far from God’s redemption. If we believe that we are irredeemable then we have allowed the enemy to pit shame into our hearts.
What I love most about my Pastor at Cornerstone Baptist in Eldridge is that he shares his greatest failure with everyone who welcomes themselves into the church. He is completely transparent about the place He went and how devastating his failure was. Yet, God graciously restored him to the position he has now been in leading our church for well over 20 years. This same attitude of grace permeates our entire church. The people of Cornerstone share one thing in common with each other. We are people who screw up. Yet, we bask in the grace of God, loving one another without judgment. We wholly believe in the gospel and walking in obedience to Jesus, but we will never shy away from someone who struggles. If we did, we’d have to shy away from the person staring back at us in the mirror.
As you reflect on this Easter season, sit in the grace of God. Be thankful that God loves broken sinners like you and me. He is a gracious, redemptive God!
Lord, forgive me. I have held people’s past sins over them. I do not understand grace, but I am learning it. I want to offer the grace that you do to others. To believe in them, despite their failures as you believe in them. God thank you that you can take brokenness and make it beautiful. You are a gracious, loving God, Amen.