Around 2014, I met a man who had committed a felony against a minor. When the man was released from jail, he wondered if he would be welcome as a part of our church family. Our church leaders discussed it for a long time, working with his parole officer and pouring over the issue in prayer, thinking of this precious soul craving a Christian community and thinking of our own children at the church we loved. Eventually, we said we’d love to have him here, but there would be boundaries, restrictions, other people who would need to know.
This guy—to his immense credit—said, “The more people who know, the better. I will stand in front of church and tell everyone if that’s what you want. It will only make me more accountable.” So that’s what we did. And I am ecstatic to tell you that years later, this brother in Christ is still an active member of our church family, hearing about God’s unending grace Sunday after Sunday in our midst.
Jesus once promised, “Those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Luke 18:14). You might have a complicated story or sins serious enough to come with legal consequences. But by the blood of Christ, that doesn’t have to stop you from being a child of God, equal in status to every other Christian. Cry out in humility to Jesus, and you will be exalted.