It was early on Monday morning, January 5, 2004, the morning after the very worst day of my entire life. I could hardly put one foot in front of the other. The burden I carried for my wife, family and church felt like a ton of burning bricks. As I walked from the den to the kitchen, I saw a man sitting on my front steps. On a closer observation, I saw he was a friend who often visited our church. My first thought was to act like I did not see him. The last thing I wanted to do was talk.
I cautiously opened the door and spoke to him guardedly. He jumped up and Immediately as he turned to face me, I knew by his compassionate look, that he was only there to love me, not to shame me, not to discipline me, not to get “the story” but simply, to love, encourage and pray for me. The divine words he shared with me are sacred. This moment is forever etched in my memory.
God sent one man to help me and encourage me and I shall always be grateful for this man. This man was the first, but God provided more for me from the state of Georgia, back to Virginia, to Arizona.
Who would be there for you at your worst moment in life?
Pastors especially feel that they have many friends, however, when the worst happens they scatter as roach bugs do when the light is turned on.
How is it that some feel called of God to punish you at your very worst moment in life? And, I might say, quite contrary to what the scriptures teach about our Heavenly Father, Our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ as well as the Holy Spirit that is within us.
Proverbs 24:29 (ESV) Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for what he has done.”
I’m reminded of the Old Testament scripture, Isaiah 42:3(ESV) a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.
Our Heavenly Father comes to us, in grace, as a life-giver, not a life destroyer. When our faith is weak, He is not impatient and frustrated with us. He is a source of true forgiveness and compassion. He is touched in our infirmities and weaknesses and offers us mercy.
In Galatians 6:1(ESV) we are encouraged to bear one another’s burdens….it says, Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in the spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself lest you too be tempted.
As we investigate this scripture we find it is directed toward the spiritual men, Believers who are mature in the faith. Within the Body of Christ where restoration does not occur, does that mean that the church has so few spiritual men? The result may very well be a person who rides out into the sunset carrying the baggage of failure, shame and destruction……. never to be heard from again……and no restoration. Let’s be reminded that many are watching and are influenced within this person’s environment. He becomes the person who messed up and is rejected because of a certain time or event in his life. He’s a marked man and is to be avoided. What would your church do? I know what my former church did after loving and caring for them over 26 years.
But, God sent a man…
You could be that man! Or you could be that church. Betty and I were attending a church service in another city in October of last year. There were several thousand people present and we knew only a few people there. Just before the service started we heard someone behind us call our names. A man who had a leadership position in the church I was pastoring at the time of my sin, approached us delicately and with his hands on both of our shoulders, said these words, “I want to ask you to forgive me for hurting you so deeply at a time in your life when you needed help, I apologize.” We were blessed through his humble apology on that day.
We must not neglect or turn our faces from those in our environment who are hurting, living in shame and who have made unwise life changing decisions. If our Heavenly Father does not turn His back, why should we? We all know those who have left the church because of the shame they felt. Who is it that you could give love, encouragement and hope to on their worst day in life? It could change their direction in life. I am so grateful for those who invested grace in my life.
We, as Christ followers can make a difference, today! Read Galatians 6:1 again