He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.
How many of us think doing good means changing people? How many millions of women like me think we can change the undesirable habits of our husbands, children, or loved ones? If we can just try hard enough. If we can just say the right words. If we can just save them.
But only God can change hearts. Only God can say the right words. Only God can call us to salvation.
'No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him' (John 6:44). 'All that the Father gives Me will come to Me' (John 6:37). But what if we get in the way?
In the story of the Prodigal Son, the father did not try to change his son's greedy and impulsive decisions. He did not chase him. He allowed his son to suffer the consequences of his own poor choices (see Luke 15:11-32).
If someone began feeding the prodigal while he was starving in the pig pen, he might have settled for a miserable life of handouts and barely enough. God says, 'he who is filthy, let him be filthy still.'
Misguided enablers who try to 'change' or 'help' their wayward loved ones are seeing them through a pinhole of compassion compared to God's 'Everlasting love' (Jeremiah 31:3). By softening their consequences, chasing them down, and paying their debts, enablers may be standing in the way of their salvation.
Each person must choose for himself to seek God and do good. The prodigal's choice to come home--to ask forgiveness and mercy--is an invitation our Father longs to accept.
Until that choice is made, God says move on: 'And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet' (Matthew 10:14); even more, 'And he who refuses, let him refuse' (Ezekiel 3:27), and 'Let what is dying die, and what is perishing perish' (Zechariah 11:9).
Here's the thing: God can raise the dead. Jesus can pay the debt. But it's personal--between each sinner and a Perfect Father. Not us.
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Revelation series.