James 5:19-20 My friends, if someone should bring back another who has strayed from the Truth, take note of this: Whoever convinces a sinner to repent of his erroneous ways will rescue that person from death and cover over his many sins. (JSV)
There is hope for everyone, even the worst of sinners. I know this to be true for I am part of that category. We all make ill-advised choices, especially when we are young adults, some of which can ruin our lives entirely. We follow our own path and determine our own future. We hate being wrong and don't want to repent of or confess our foolish ways. Some of us would rather keep making the same sinful choices rather than admit to being wrong. Being ornery and stubborn, mule headed and strong minded comes with the territory of growing up. What we eventually become is largely based on how willing we are to change direction, especially if we are following a self-centered and self-destructive path.
When I was addicted to alcohol, I never heeded anyone's advice. My mother wept over me; my father gave up on me; and my friends began to abandon me. I stubbornly refused to concede that I had a problem. I believed that I was right and everybody else was totally wrong. I wouldn’t seek help and almost got myself into a lot of serious trouble. If I hadn't met Christ on the road I was on, I probably would be dead by now. It took His presence in my life and the candid words of His followers, who were my peers, to turn my life around. Their love convinced me to repent. Their understanding and faith saved me from my sinful addiction.
Sometimes I worry about our young folk at church, college, and in their new careers. Some of them are making foolish choices just like I did, so I pray for them on a regular basis. I want them to know that the lessons of faith they learned as children or teenagers are still relevant in their lives today. I want them to know that when all else fails, Jesus will never let them down. I want them to have a place of acceptance and love, renewal and hope in their lives.They are still, and always will be, children of God’s grace. My fervent prayer is that they will personally know that for themselves in the most crucial time of their beautiful lives.
Questions for personal reflection
Who are the young people in my church? How often do I think about and pray for them?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You personally know the young people in our lives who are part of our family and church. Please be with them this day and bless them with guidance. Let them know that they are fully loved by You, as well as by Your people. Help them to make good choices which will bring positive benefits to their lives. Let all of them experience Your loving embrace. In Your Holy Name, we earnestly pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to make a comment or ask a question of today’s message, please send him an email to Traqair@aol.com.
Today’s image is John’s latest Memorial Day drawing called “HERO.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link: https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7411/14115352532_981eecd1a7_b.jpg