Who Have You Written Off?

Erik Cooper —  October 13, 2011 — Leave a comment

I heard two stories of radical redemption yesterday. Two friends with decades-long family dysfunction experienced healing, hope, and renewed connection with prodigal parents. One with his mom, the other with his dad.

For their own sanity, my friends had written off these lousy gene donors, faced the pain, healed up, and moved on. Until both started wrestling with some really tough questions.

What if I stopped seeing my mom as the villain in my story?

What if my dad is capable of the same radical transformation I’ve experienced in my life?

Is anyone truly beyond redemption?

It wasn’t easy. It took a massive amount of courage. Courage to challenge their own self-protections. Courage to take a leadership role in a relationship where we instinctively follow. Courage to confront people with a history of violence, abuse, and running away from conflict. Courage to shift their focus from what they never got from mom and dad, to what they possibly had to offer to them.

Courage drenched in grace.

After decades of anger, brokenness, and unanswered whys, there was finally repentance. Sorrow. Understanding. Healing. Hope.

It doesn’t always work out this way. Sometimes noble, God-honoring efforts disintegrate into even more pain, anger, and disconnection. It’s definitely a risk.

But it has challenged me to ask, “who have I written off?” Who have I said is beyond redemption? Who do I think is incapable of change? Who is my villain? Who have I categorized as out of God’s reach?

When we find the courage to extend grace to those who don’t deserve it at the risk of our own peril, at that very moment, aren’t we the most like Jesus?

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