“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
Having conversations with people from all walks of life reveal common thoughts that many struggle with. A popular belief is that when a human being has lived a sinful-enough life or has made enough mistakes, God will not forgive them, help them, or even want them. These thoughts cannot be further from the truth and Biblical history proves this through the example of several people who were just like us. Jesus did not dismiss those who made mistakes or lived in sin. If they would come to Him, His work in their lives was not finished.
Do we really grasp the depths of God’s love for mankind? Matthew 11:28-29 says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
This short passage of Scripture says so much. Jesus did not offer rest to those who had it all together or whose problems were minor, although they were invited as well. He reached out with an invitation to those who were laboring and were heavy-laden, weighed down by hardships and circumstances surrounding their lives. His ears and heart weren’t closed to the overwhelmed and downright despondent. In fact, He specifically mentioned those with big needs, just in case they had any doubt.
Of all that Jesus could say about Himself, He chose to describe His heart with two words: gentle and lowly. He is gentle. He is humble. He is welcoming and accessible to men and women from all walks of life. That includes every one of us. When we accept His invitation to come, he assures us of finding rest for our souls. His will is to release us from the grips of sin in our lives and for us to experience abundant life that frees us from the bondage of sin. He desires to rescue us from what is harming us, and guide our lives in His will.
This would have included Judas if he would have asked for the Lord’s forgiveness. Instead of asking forgiveness, the pain of his actions against Jesus caused him to end his own life, never experiencing forgiveness and redemption (Matthew 27:1-10). Many other thieves have since been forgiven, including one who shared in our Lord’s crucifixion.
Peter denied Jesus at a time when the mob wanted Him crucified, instantly feeling remorse when the Lord’s prophecy about his denial came to pass (Luke 22:54-62). However, Peter took advantage of repentance and redemption, becoming the keynote speaker on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41). Because Peter didn’t let his failures keep him down, the Lord used him for great purposes! God was not finished with him!
Paul, who was originally Saul, the one imprisoning and killing Christians, is another great example of a life God had plans for. When he had a personal encounter with Jesus, his will was surrendered to the One who would inspire him to write many books of the Bible that we still read and turn to for guidance today (Acts 9:1-22).
Friends, we are not out of reach for our Lord, no matter where we are, how far we’ve strayed, or how long it takes us to realize our need for Him in our lives.
If we find ourselves in a fallen place spiritually, we simply need to turn back to Jesus! He is not finished with us yet!