I’m sure you’ve met them: Influential believers who somehow never seemed to experience the miraculous power of God’s grace. They don’t witness to that power. Instead, all their pronouncements about various human ills are loaded with all kinds of sagacious human wisdom, but utterly lacking in making room for God to heal. They know Christian teaching, but they seem to have never met Christ. They trust religion and the institutions, but don’t really trust God as a Person.
Maybe they never quite saw the depth of their need for God’s grace, never quite got around to falling on their face before God. They never experienced those moments of utter powerlessness against the Curse of the Fall. I can assure you that a horrible beast still rages in my flesh, someone I wouldn’t want to know. I also can testify to the power of God’s saving grace that changed me and nailed that awful creature to the Cross. Sorry, but I can’t quite get off my knees yet, so it’s hard to judge others.
At the same time, we do know that there are some sinners out there whose propensities are terrifying. Where do you draw the line between warding off a persistent threat and giving someone room to repent and turn around?
It’s in your heart. It’s never a question of whether God can redeem someone; there is no limit to His power to manifest His Spirit in anyone. The question is whether it’s your mission from Christ to work with that person. You are the only one who can discern for yourself what you can handle. It’s not an insult to God to refuse to work with someone who needs guidance and constraint that you simply cannot provide.
I can’t explain why God chose me for my mission, but I can assure you I’ve seen some of the nastiest creatures turn around completely. Do you realize that each criminal type is the backside of something wonderful that God made? You can learn from Scripture how to recognize a particular blessed character from how Satan perverts it; the sinner and saint are mirror images of each other, a recognizable signature. I can also tell you there are some folks I simply cannot work with, and won’t try. The most loving thing I can do is keep my distance from them.
That’s because I’m still flawed and weak, and bear scars the Lord has not seen fit to heal in this life. He gets to choose those things; we all bear some thorn in the flesh to keep us humble. I know beyond all doubt those things will fade away when Christ returns, but until then, the witness of Christ is that none of us is like Him in perfection, yet we are all like Him in effect.