My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds; my neighbors stay far away. Psalm 38:11 (NIV)

I’ve heard the story a hundred times if I’ve heard it once. In fact I’ve experienced it myself.

Those who believe in Jesus Christ and believe in marriage, find themselves in the ‘Divorced Believers Club’. Joining is free but the dues are pain and rejection. Once you are in though, you are a life-long member.

Those who profess Christ as savior but struggle with their sexual orientation discover that while the church preaches grace and forgiveness and acceptance, their actions don’t always follow those guidelines. Don’t get me wrong here. There are Biblical standards that must be addressed regarding the activity involved, but the person is still created in God’s image and deserving of His grace as much as the next person.

Then there is the person who makes the horrific mistake of getting involved intimately with someone they shouldn’t and get caught. They receive a life-long ‘sentence’ from the courts of the land (as perhaps they should) but they are still created in the image of God. Jesus died for their sin and weakness as much as anyone else.

Bear in mind, I’m not talking about the person who professes to believe and openly lives a life that shames Christ with no remorse for their position. I refer more to those who have recognized their position and asked for forgiveness. They are struggling to rebuild a life they themselves have destroyed.

The Psalmist knew the pain of being rejected at the very time he needed the support and encouragement of his friends. It was almost as if others avoided him because they were afraid that they would be pulled down with him.

Here’s the good news for those of us that have made mistakes in life and feel the scorn of other believers. Jesus knows your pain! Imagine how he felt hanging going through the whole crucifixion scenario and watching his friends abandon him. They all ‘stood afar off’ when he needed them most so he knows your pain.

Jesus Christ doesn’t condone your actions if they are contrary to his Word, but he is willing to reach out and forgive you. He knows the abandonment you feel. He knows the discouragement and shame that attack. He understands your weaknesses. He welcomes you into his family regardless of your past.

We as Christ’s Church, as his body are called to bring in those who have stumbled. To encourage where encouragement is needed; to befriend when all other friends have abandoned them; to lift up those who have fallen. This is the great challenge that lay ahead, to be a blessing to those in need.

PRAYER: Father God, I pray today for those who are struggling to get life right. I ask that you would use me and others to come along side them to show them the acceptance, grace, forgiveness and understanding you have shown me. Help me be sensitive and wise in my dealings with them for your name’s sake. Amen.

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