Are people ever too far gone? – John 13:18-38, Preview

Have you felt as though some people are just too far gone, as if there is no hope for them?  Maybe it is a relative who has made a series of poor choices.  Maybe it is a friend who has struggled for years.  Maybe you wonder about yourself. 

It could be the person who is in and out of rehab.  It could be the person whose past is littered with broken relationships.  It could be the one who can’t seem to keep a job.

In recent weeks a woman living at a nearby hotel has been calling churches in the area.  She’s asked us to pay for her to stay at the hotel, saying that she has been trying to get into a local homeless shelter, but they are all full.  If we could just pay for her hotel stay, she’ll have the buffer she needs to keep calling shelters until a bed opens up. 

Whenever we get calls like this, I immediately feel a combination of pressure, confusion, compassion, and skepticism.  I have no way to verify the woman’s story, and yet I want to help.  Thankfully, the Conestoga Valley Ministerium communicates when people call us.  So I reached out to see if the woman had called any other churches.  She had called other churches, and what’s more, a local Christian social services agency had been working with her for 10+ years.  They reported that the woman rarely followed their programs designed to help her live a more stable lifestyle. 

In other words, we now had every reason to believe that if we helped this woman, as soon as her hotel stay expired, she would be right back to calling churches for more help.  The CV Ministerium churches decided together to not help her at this time.  It was difficult, and yet we felt it was better to give our finances towards the many others in need in our community who are truly striving to find more stability. 

Yet, when I talked with the woman to tell her this decision, I felt embarrassed.  What would she do?  Is there hope for her?  Should we have helped?  Is she too far gone. It’s very messy and complicated, isn’t it?  I wonder how Jesus might answer those questions.  Perhaps we’ll get a chance to hear how he might answer those questions in our sermon this coming Sunday.  We’re studying John 13:18-38, as the story of the Last Supper continues. Though the men around the table with Jesus are his closest followers, Jesus gives them the shocking news that some of them might be too far gone.  There is talk of betrayal, of disowning.  Are they without hope?  What Jesus has to say has great ramifications for us, when we feel hopeless, when we are interacting with others who seem too far gone. 

I invite you to read the passage ahead of time, and I look forward to exploring further with you next week on the blog.

Photo by Stefano Pollio on Unsplash

Published by joelkime

I love my wife, Michelle, and our four kids and two daughters-in-law. I serve at Faith Church and love our church family. I teach a course online from time to time, and in my free time I love to read and exercise, especially running,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: