Failure is not final
Dear fellow disciple-maker,
Every follower of Jesus is vulnerable to willful disobedience. It is very easy to suffer the loss of clear thinking and become entrapped by sin. Just as Peter denied knowing Jesus (the very thing he swore he would never do), God fearing people are capable of veering away from the Lord.
God never let's go
Even though God provides a way out, Christian people don't always make the right choices. But failure is not final. Just because a believe may let go of God, God never lets go of him. The apostle John writes: "My dear children, I write this to you so that you do no sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense - Jesus Christ, the Righteous One" (I John 2:1).
Identifying with sinners
If we sin, who besides Jesus will come to our defense? Fallen followers need help and hope. Specifically, they need compassion and guidance. They need to know that God still loves them and people still believe in them. Jesus was never caught off-guard by personal failure. Rather, he identified with the one who sinned like a shepherd who cared about one of his lost sheep (Luke 15). In the same way, God wants mature followers to reach out to anyone who has wandered from the Lord with mercy and truth.
A man once told me how much he enjoyed walking along a beautiful coastline near his home that overlooked the ocean. On this particular coastline there was a lighthouse that stood on a volcanic rock that dropped off dramatically into the ocean. A curve in the highway allowed him to look across a bay and see a perfectly framed picture consisting of ocean, waves, lighthouse and cliffs.
His young daughter would often go with him. She was too small to see the lighthouse unless he lifted her up to look over a three-foot wall. She loved to walk on top of the wall, holding tightly to her father’s hand. On the other side of the wall, the ground fell off at a very steep angle for several feet and then plunged straight down over the cliff to the ocean rocks hundreds of feet below.
Once, while his daughter was walking on top of the wall she turned to her father and said, "Daddy, if I ever fell over this wall would you come and get me?" Even though her father had a tremendous fear of heights, he reassured her. "Yes dear, I would come after you."
Going after people
Someday, a Christian person you know is going to fall away from the Lord and "go over the wall". Jesus will ask you to go after him. Initially, how he or she got there won't matter. They are hurting and hoping that help is on the way. Let the Lord use you despite your fears. He will tie a rope around your waist and lower you over the edge. Jesus wants you to go after the one who went over the wall.
Brothers, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and cover a multitude of sins (James 5:19-20).
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