Everything is Redeemable
Jim Bakker was a televangelist in the 1980s. He was a TV preacher known for his prosperity gospel with a ministry that reached millions of viewers. Then, in 1987, he was [accused] of raping his secretary. Later he was arrested for fraud and found guilty. In his book, I was wrong, Bakker confessed he had never truly read the Bible until prison. He repented and committed to turning his life around.
I became a Christian in 1992. Although I had heard of Bakker, his ministry didn’t influence me one way or another. After prison, Bakker started touring the country with the release of his new book. I went to hear him speak. It was mostly out of curiosity.
The church that hosted him had a large auditorium that seated maybe 5000 people. There were 500 of us there that night clustered together on folding chairs. Most of the people were twenty years older than me. I looked into their faces and saw doubt mixed with hope. I was there out of curiosity, but they were looking for hope. Hope they had been wrong about how they judged him. Hope that people can truly change.
I remember nothing of what was said that night. And I couldn’t get a sense of his sincerity. He seemed repentant. He seemed like a person who wanted to make amends. But it was as if he wasn’t sure how to do it.
I didn’t discover anything about Bakker that night. But I discovered something about God.
I discovered that God truly desires to redeem all things. And he has placed this same desire in the hearts of mankind.
Here was a man who had betrayed his supporters. Yet, at least 500 of them were willing to take a chance. A handful of people were willing to offer redemption. Now, it’s a far cry from the millions of people Bakker once knew. But redemption is not the same as resurrection. It’s not a re-do, a do-over, or an un-do. Redemption is about us offering up the broken pieces to God to see what he can do. It’s God using our brokenness to create something new and different and beautiful.
Things will never return to the way they were beforehand. The puzzle never goes back in the box the way it came out. The woman’s body never returns to pre-pregnancy condition. And you never step in the same river twice. If we truly want to experience redemption, then we need to let go of our fantasy of the way we were. We grieve. We learn. We grow. And we receive the new and different gift we’ve been offered. We step into our new beauty that came from the ashes.
What needs to be redeemed in your life right now? Are you willing to surrender the broken pieces to God? What is the first step you need to take today to move in that direction?