Hopeless Hope

September 7, 2016

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Christians and ministries often have a hard time losing hope. Hope filled Christianity is a wonderful thing, but it is more and more normal for people to hold out hope without any evidence to support it.

There are times when we must actually lose hope and it may be in the best interest of the person or the project.

Henry Cloud in his fantastic book,Necessary Endings,  deals with this at length. Take a look at some of these thoughts.

“Hope is based not only on desire, but also on real, objective reasons to believe that more time will help. That is way different from mere desire. Here is the principle: In the absence of real, objective reasons to think that more time is going to help, it is probably time for some type of necessary ending.”

“As the saying goes, “Hope is not a strategy.” This kind of hope is not worth spending more time and resources on. It is only buying you the time to continue to make more mistakes. If you are in a hole, rule number one is to stop digging. The last thing you need is more of this kind of hope.”

“What reason, other than the fact that I want this to work, do I have for believing that tomorrow is going to be different from today?”

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Would Cloud say that it is impossible for people to change?

“Can’t someone do better than their past?” Of course! As we are about to see. If that were not true, we would all be hopeless. But the key is this: There had better be good reason to believe that someone is going to do better.”

It reminds me of the man Paul kicks out of the church in 1 Corinthians 5, saying “deliver this man to Satan!” This man seems like he was sleeping with his step-mother and had been warned repeatedly.

Sounds harsh! Look a little closer.

Verse 5 finishes by saying, “so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.”

Even in this seemingly extreme measure there is a desire for restoration. Paul sees this move as an act of grace.

One of the most common misconceptions of grace is that there needs to be an absence of consequences for it to be grace.

Scripture never says this.

2nd Corinthians seems to refers to a man who needs to be accepted back into the church body. Many feel this is the same man. It is very possible the consequences were the vehicle for change and discipleship.

Let me leave you with one final quote from Henry Cloud.

“The difference between hoping and wishing is that hope comes from real, objective reasons that the future is going to be different from the past. Anything other than that is simply a wish that comes from your desires.”

There may be people or projects in which we must embrace a hopeless hope in. This may be the most gracious thing to do.

I’d recommend picking up Necessary Endings today. Look for a full review soon.

Photo by Joe Gardner

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Chris

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God