The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy… (Galatians 1:23).
You might think that person in your life is too broken, destructive, messy and much too far gone to ever turn to Jesus.
Let’s rethink that for a moment.
God took one of THE GREATEST persecutors of the church, a man by the name of Saul and completely changed his life. Through Saul’s repentance and belief in Jesus as the Messiah, his course in life takes on a whole new direction. His name is changed to Paul and his life becomes about serving the gospel instead of seeking to destroy it.
I’m not sure who you have in your life that seems too far gone, but I know for me, I had someone I dearly loved whose behavior was immensely destructive and I wondered if he could ever truly be different. Yet, I kept clinging to this reality that God changes hearts. I kept holding fast to what I saw in Scripture, that God can take the mess and junk of our lives and flip it, giving us a brand new story to delight in. It took me a while to get there though because I had allowed my heart to grow hard towards that person. In order to start praying this way, I had to let Jesus soften my heart through His love and grace.
So, that loved one of yours whose addicted to alcohol, drugs or pornography, someday, through repentance and humility, they can be used to help others overcome addiction from alcohol, drugs or pornography. You see, God loves to take the things that used to consume our lives when we lived in sin and use it as our greatest ministry in the future.
I know what you’re thinking though, they’re too prideful Heather, they’ll never turn to Jesus! Really? Doesn’t that put a limit on God’s ability to work in the lives of lost people? Isn’t that like saying, God isn’t powerful enough to reach this person?
Some of what I have learned in life is that along my journey of loving people who have given way to destructive behavior my role isn’t to try and fix them. it’s not to shame them into change or force them against their own will to be different. It’s to draw healthy boundaries for myself, asking for help from others only when and if it’s going to be helpful and become a person of prayer so that God begins to fight for me and my loved one. For the longest time, I kept trying to play the Holy Spirit’s role in the life of my loved one, speaking unwelcomed “words of wisdom into their life.” When I stepped aside and got out of the way, the Lord brought other people in who spoke the truths I kept trying to bang into their head.
The Lord doesn’t need our help like we think He does or maybe its more about the reality that we believe if we don’t speak, no one else will. But again, that puts limits on God, who is always working among His people.
As you consider your loved one drowning in sin, take a step back and learn to release them to the Lord. He’s working in their lives and you can trust Him.
Lord, no one is ever too far gone. Please, help us to live in that truth today. Help us, God, to love like Jesus and to grow in our love for others. Lord, we release the people in our lives who are far from you, please reach them with your love, we pray, in Jesus name, Amen.