I love the idea of recycling – the fact that something labeled as trash can be made into something new is amazing to me. Glass crushed and melted into jars. Cans melted and rolled into sheets of aluminum. Did you know that it only takes six weeks for a can you’ve recycled to be back on a grocery shelf? Crazy, huh?
However, recycling is not a new concept. God has been in the business of recycling since the world began. The only difference is He is recycling hearts.
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
Apostle Paul is one of the greatest examples of what God can do when He gets a hold of a person’s heart. Paul wasn’t a good guy. He persecuted the first Christians, but God showed up in Paul’s life and did more than just change his name – He changed his heart.
A heart that was once full of contempt for the Church was emptied and refilled with God’s love. Paul became a leader in the Church and a great missionary, spreading the message of God throughout the ancient world.
[pullquote width=”300″ float=”right”]No one is too “bad” for Jesus to redeem.[/pullquote]
One Sunday morning while studying the book of Revelations with my junior/senior high Sunday school class, our talk came around to Osama bin Laden. We were discussing how anyone – even a person responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people – can be saved. That is true. There is not one person on this planet who cannot be made new. No one is too “bad” for Jesus to redeem.
I used to pray that bin Laden would find Jesus. I know that it might sound crazy to pray for the salvation of the very man who brought terror to the shores of this country. But that’s exactly what God wants.
This is the beauty of our God – you’re never too broken to belong. Never too wounded, never too far gone.
“Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” – Matthew 5:44-48
As Christians, we are called to be a people of love…even to those who have wronged or hurt us. Maybe sometimes the reason we go through bad stuff is for the stuff that happens afterwards – our reaction. Sometimes, we need to step back from our own stories to see the greater picture.
Instead of demanding an eye for an eye, let love prevail. It’s not easy to love those who’ve wronged us. But that is what we are supposed to do. Pray for them. Treat them with kindness. God may just be using your loving reaction to bring them to Christ.
“Therefore, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” -Romans 12:20-21
This month I am praying for those involved in three incidents where I was hurt either by the actions or lies of others. I am praying that God will replace my negative feelings about the situations with love for those who were involved.