When he logged on to our chat line, his topic was “Dark Soul.”
Talking to one of our volunteers, this young man shared that he is an artist. Specifically, he is a cartoonist who works directly with video game designers. He is a “demon specialist.” Every day he creates demons and darkness for a living.
That’s why he logged on.
“The demons I have created are haunting me. I am shackled to eternal damnation and I can’t get free.”
Our volunteer coach listened and connected, and after a few minutes, interjected Jesus into the conversation. “Have you ever prayed and asked God to save you and deliver you?”
The young chatter responded, “I grew up in church and I am a firm believer in God, but I have never prayed. I actually don’t know how.”
After another 30 minutes, where the truth of God’s plan for deliverance was shared, they prayed together. The young man admitted he was a sinner in need of a Savior, and He accepted God’s gift of grace.
He said, “I prayed that from the depths of my soul.”
No longer a dark soul that he felt was irredeemable, but one washed clean by the blood of Jesus in that moment.
We know that all of Heaven rejoices over one sinner who repents and steps into the grace that God generously offers (Luke 15:7), but this story is not just about one man. It is about so many just like him that are bound by issues of their own creating. He was being haunted by the demons he created as artwork, but many are tormented by what they see as unforgivable mistakes in their past and the consequences they have invited into their lives. The addictions they let grow into mountain-sized obstructions or the relationships that have become life-sucking monsters.
One of the problems that we have as “mature Christ-followers” (if we were together, I would be using air quotes and tone to communicate sarcasm) is that we have forgotten what it was like to be young, stupid and painfully aware of our own mistakes. We have a selective memory and communicate judgment because we have convinced ourselves that we were smarter, never made mistakes and never needed help.
That isn’t the case and it definitely isn’t helpful.
Because we love the Lord, we need to persuade people (II Cor. 5:11), and to do that, we need to remember that those who need Jesus need the truth to be delivered with compassion, not condescension. They need someone to encourage them with hope instead of pointing out the error of their ways. They need to be reminded that they can overcome their past, be better than what they have been, and conquer the internal voices that try to convince them that they are forever damaged.
Help Them See
So, the next time you find yourself in a conversation with someone who looks different than you, remember that the best way you can represent Jesus is by helping them overcome their own self-perception. Be the voice of vision and help them see where they can go, what they can become the impact they can have, and the life they can build.
Lower your judgment and amplify God’s grace.
They may feel uncomfortable around you because they perceive you as perfect or think you haven’t ever struggled, but push through the awkwardness and remind them that you and God are in their corner.
Every day, there are people around us that feel that they are an unreachable soul that is “shackled to” darkness, pain, judgment, and failure, but God can use you to break through those lies. Sometimes you will have to use straightforward words to combat the lies they have embraced, but often you can have a huge impact simply by accepting them and letting them know that you care.
Let’s stop pretending that we are perfect and remember that if it weren’t for God’s work in our lives, we too would be at the mercy of the mistakes we have made. You are a new creation by His grace – share that hope with someone today.
Sean Dunn is the founder and president of Groundwire, a global ministry with the mission to lead every youth and young adult into a personal relationship with Jesus by leveraging current media channels to connect with them wherever they are. More than 116,000 made commitments to Christ through the organizations efforts in 2020. For more information, visit www.groundwire.net