Repeat Offenders

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. —Galatians 6:9

I am sure most pastors would agree that one of the most discouraging and frustrating aspects of ministry is when people make appointments to discuss a problem, but as you share the Word of God with them, you see in their eyes that they are in a far and distant land. You know full well as they leave the room that they are not going to act upon anything discussed and will soon be back. At such times, it is easy to think, why did you even come in to see me? You really don’t want answers!

You may have people like that in your life, perhaps friends or relatives you are weary of doing good for because you are tired of seeing them fall into the same hole time and time again. The key to not losing heart in these situations is to remember that all of us, at one time or another, have been that person with the far and distant look in the eyes.

God didn’t give up on me in my nearly a decade of prodigal living, even though I dragged His name through the mud I was wallowing in. I am sure I broke His heart a thousand times in those years, but He never quit on me, though I came to Him again and again with empty promises and commitments in my journey back home.

The key to dealing with repeat offenders is to not lose heart. There is a due season, a conversation, a moment, an action, or maybe even just patient availability, for the same person doing the same thing over and over again. But one day it will finally be “that day,” and all your efforts will bear fruit. At last the lights will go on, and that person will see what was obvious to you all along. Don’t miss the chance to be there for that great moment by growing weary of being there now. Share with the person a hundred times, and listen to the confession of the repeat offender who never seems to learn. Be there for the people around you, and one day, when you are sharing the same thing for the thousandth time, they will finally get it. Don’t miss the moment because it is taking them so long to get there. You will reap in due season if you do not lose heart!

Excerpt from “Body Builders” now available on Amazon.

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Barry Stagner