James 5:19-20 - My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
"It's been too many times; God can never forgive this time." "I think he's beyond hope." "I don't even know if it's worth trying anymore." "I'm ready to give up."
Have you ever said or thought these words about another human being? Have you ever thought or said them about yourself?
If you have, it wouldn't be so surprising. Human beings have a limited amount of endurance. We lose hope when someone we love goes off the rails again and again and again. The fifth time we bail them out of jail -- the tenth time we get them into rehab -- the hundred-and-fifth time we have to argue with them about a really, really bad decision they're intent on making -- we get tired. How can we help it? Sometimes we wonder if God isn't tired, too.
Against that, James says, "My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins." There isn't any "might save" or "will probably cover" in what the Holy Spirit is saying here. He says, "He will save. He will cover." God will show mercy and forgiveness the thousandth time, just as He did the hundredth, just as He did the first.
God keeps going. His patient love for us is beyond anything we can imagine or put limits on. He keeps searching for His lost and wandering sheep, again and again and again, if necessary. God still cares, still loves, still forgives.
You may have a lost sheep in your family: someone you love dearly but almost despair of ever seeing come home again. Or you may be the lost sheep yourself, and you know you are lost, and you want to come home, but you can't see how that could happen. It may be the first time you've been in this lost situation (though that's very unlikely). It may be the last time (though that's rather unlikely, too).
It doesn't matter. Jesus is calling you. He wants you home. He wants you safe -- forgiven, protected, restored. He isn't going to stop looking for you or your loved one. He's still calling. And that's good news for everybody.
THE PRAYER: Father, thank You for Your patience and forgiving love. Please show that same love and endurance through me, and strengthen me. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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