Don’t Write Someone Off

by Joel Osteen

Friday, December 13, 2019
comments: 12

We all have someone who we're hoping will change—a family member who's off course, a child who's not making good decisions, a friend who's struggling with an addiction. We're praying and believing, but perhaps it doesn't look like it's making any difference. It's easy to get frustrated and think we're wasting our time. But if they're going to reach their destiny, they need someone who will keep praying, keep encouraging, keep speaking faith into their future. They need someone who will stand in the gap and cover them with mercy—not judge them, not condemn them, but will help love them into wholeness.

We write people off too easily. Where they are now is not where they're going to end up. Don't judge them by the present. Before the apostle Paul was a follower of Christ, he was the biggest enemy of the church. If you and I had seen him as Saul the persecutor of believers, we would have thought, "This guy doesn't have a chance. He's a terrorist." Yet God told Ananias, "Go pray for Saul, for he is a chosen vessel to bear My name before Gentiles" (Acts 9:15). Some of the people whom we're tempted to write off are chosen vessels to advance God's kingdom, to do great things. They need someone to wait and be there for them, to send them a text and tell them that they're praying for them, to invite them to lunch and tell them that they love and believe in them—not to condemn them or try to straighten them out.

I think about how many times God waited on us when we were off course. He waited when we had a bad attitude, when we failed, when we were addicted and compromising. He could have said, "That's it. I'm done with you." But He waited. He showed us mercy. He picked us up when we fell. He kept the addiction from taking our life. He protected us when we chose the wrong friends. He stopped the accident that could have taken us out. He waited when we didn't believe in Him, when we ignored Him, when we were bitter because He didn't answer our prayer the way we hoped.

Now He's asking us, "Will you wait on someone for Me? Will you wait on that loved one who's making bad choices and trapped in an addiction? Will you call them, encourage them, and let them know that you care? Will you stand in the gap for them?" God is saying, "Keep praying, keep encouraging, keep loving. Don't judge them by where they are. They're in the process of changing. Today may be their turning point."