It's easy to start thinking you're worthless, but as Forster writes, "In spite of my deepest flaws and even beyond my own beliefs about myself, I am God's beloved." (1) Many Christians allow themselves to imagine that they are too far gone for God. But "if you think God feels disappointment when he looks at you, then you don't know God very well." (99) I have certainly found myself there.
Even when it feels like you've blown it, the game isn't over. "Never is like a period. It ends the sentence. It closes discussion. But not yet its like a comma. The sentence continues. The process is not complete. You are never a never. You are a not yet in process. You are a story that has yet to be finished." (73)
Part of the process is giving yourself away in love. Building up others is a great way not to let yourself get down. "Use your words to affirm people. Not just who they are but also who they can become. . . . Be rich in love. Be rich and words of affirmation." (88) Foster promotes "Prodigal Parties." Just as the Prodigal Son was welcomed back into his family, so should we welcome people with celebration, whether they are long-lost family members, released prisoners, or someone who has wandered from fellowship.
Mike Foster is the founder and "Chief Chance Officer" of People of the Second Chance (secondchance.org). People of the Second Chance is full of encouraging stories and words of encouragement for Christians. Maybe there are Christians out there who never experience the kinds of discouragement that Foster talks about. But I suspect all of us need reminders of the value and worth that God has placed on our lives.
Thanks to Blogging for Books and the publisher for the complimentary review copy!