Do not give up believing in people
God never gives up on the hardest sinner but continues to reach out to him with the truth and giving him space and time to change. Jesus taught us not to give up on others as He has never given up on us. Hence, we should always be patient with others and never give up believing in them.
Jesus never exposed anyone to shame or coerce people into submission. From the way Jesus dealt with Judas, we could see His profound patience and long-suffering. He gave a warning to Judas right after the 5000 people decided to leave Him, He said to His disciples, “the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who would not believe Him, and who would betray Him.” (John 6:63-64). And again He said, “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?” Jesus also knew that Judas was a thieve but He did not expose Him (John 12:6). At the last supper before Jesus went to the cross, He washed the disciples’ feet including Judas’ and said to them, “For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me.” (John 13:15-18). Then, Jesus became more direct towards Judas saying, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.” When the disciples asked who Jesus was referring to, Jesus answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.” So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. (John 13:26). It was surprising that Jesus’ overt actions still managed to elude the disciples and Judas’ plan of betrayal remained concealed. Jesus’ intention was not to expose Judas but to give him a final opportunity to turn back from perdition. At the same time, He did not want the disciples to do anything to endanger themselves. At the Garden of Gethsemane, when Judas came with the Jews and the soldiers, Jesus did not openly expose Judas as the traitor. I believe Jesus did not close the door on Judas should he decide to repent for God never gives up on anyone. 2 Peter 3:9 says,
The Lord is not slow about His promise (to judge and bring justice), as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
Another example is Saul (before he was called Apostle Paul). He was a murderer of the church and did much harm to the believers then. In spite of that, Jesus personally appeared to him and drew him towards God. The grace of God is infinite; He will never close the door on anyone. Hence, we as believers, having tasted the grace and patience of God, where He waited for us to repent, should also give the same measure of grace to those whom we felt are hopeless and beyond redemption. I attempt to list some of the mindsets that hindered people from coming to God. This should give us a better understanding into their thinking patterns.
a. Self righteousness: They insist that those who do evil must be punished. They think to themselves: If God is not going to punish evil doers, then someone would have to do it, and that will be me. I will personally see to my enemies’ demise.
b. God is unjust: They say to themselves, “If God is all-powerful, He should not have allowed me to make bad choices in life. He should be able to stop people from making bad decisions that hurt themselves and the society. He should stop me from marrying the wrong person or make bad financial decisions.”
c. Unrealistic expectations of God: they are of the view that if God is good, He should bless man even though man made bad life decisions. If God demands man’s worship, then the onus is on Him to bless man unconditionally.
Ultimately, man has to recognize that God is the sovereign One and He is the author of all truth. He endeavors to show man that the way to eternal life is to commit oneself to the truth and respond to the Father’s invitation to become His son. God will never close the door on anyone, He will continue to impress upon man the way of the truth and abundant life. As every one of us has our own issues that are peculiar to our design and heritage, Jesus is able to touch our heart and transform us because He understood us perfectly.
As God never gives up on anyone, we should never give up on others. For no one is evil enough to be rejected by God. God readily give us the Holy Spirit to empower us with peace and confidence to conquer the day’s challenges. The presence of the Holy Spirit is God’s gift of grace and the sign of His everlasting covenant towards us.