Nothing beats the Bible when it comes to flawed and unlikely characters. Some were real oddballs; others had disadvantages that weren’t their fault. Here are just a few you’ll find throughout the Old and New Testaments (you can click on any name to read more of their story):
Polygamists – King Solomon was said to have had 700 wives and 300 concubines; many other Biblical patriarchs were also polygamists;
Criminals – The apostle Paul (known then as Saul) persecuted and imprisoned Christians prior to his conversion; Zacchaeus was a notorious tax collector who cheated his own people; Moses and King David were both murderers;
Cowards – Gideon’s faith was so weak he repeatedly demanded God give him a sign before he would obey (and then he obeyed at night so no one would see him); Peter blatantly and repeatedly denied knowing Christ;
Divorced – Despite five failed marriages, the woman at the well was chosen to bear witness to her townspeople that the Messiah had come;
The “wrong” gender – Deborah, Israel’s only female judge in a male-dominated culture, led the Israelites to military victory against Canaan; Esther risked her life to successfully intervene on behalf of an entire race of people before the Persian king;
The “wrong” ethnicity – The Good Samaritan became an icon of compassion by binding up the wounds of his enemy; the Roman Centurion who supervised the crucifixion proclaimed the divinity of Christ at the foot of the cross;
Outcasts – The Ethiopian eunuch took his testimony of conversion and baptism to other marginalized people; Rahab, a prostitute, hid the Israelite spies and smoothed the way for God’s people to enter the Promised Land; a sinful woman, scorned by the religious elite, anointed Christ’s feet with tears of contrition and received His public forgiveness.
Most of the people who did the really important stuff in the Bible were looked at sideways by those in “polite” society. They were marginalized and discounted but God intentionally used them – and still does:
- To reassure us that everyone has value in His eyes;
- To prove that none of us is capable of anything heroic or purposeful on our own, and
- To remind us that His plans are achieved not because of human effort but because of His divine power.
My pastor recently put it this way,
“God uses our most severe limitations as the stage from which to display His limitless strength.”
You may be divorced or single, female, minority, young, old, damaged by your past or hobbled by the legacy you were handed.
But here’s what can never be said about you: that because of your flaws, failures, or perceived shortcomings, you are disqualified from being a part of God’s plan to change the world.
You are loved deeply, valued greatly, and specifically invited to join God in His grand mission to rescue a perishing world. You have a contribution to make that is unique no matter who you are, no matter where you’ve been, no matter what you’ve done.
There are those who would try to tell you otherwise, that because you don’t meet certain criteria, you’re out. You don’t get to play. But that’s not what God’s Word says. You can read it for yourself. Surrendering to His invitation is all it takes.
You are not disqualified.
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- Maybe This Will Help - February 10, 2017
- I’m Firing Olivia Pope - January 24, 2017
- I’m crossing some things off my list this year - January 11, 2017
- I learned a new word - November 30, 2016
- The best question I’m asking myself these days - July 18, 2016
- A tragic story with a tender twist - May 17, 2016
- Gosh, people are a mess - May 12, 2016
- I’ll take the red carnation, thank you – revisiting an odd tradition - May 2, 2016
- The surprising thing about “weakness” - April 20, 2016
- The holiness of a four-way stop - April 13, 2016