You’re Never Too Far Gone for God
In these last few days, I’ve decided to attempt to finish Before a Fall, the Gibson Ashfield story, in a ridiculously short period of time (more on that later). This means, of course, that I’ve had to immerse myself in the characters, and … wow. Just wow.
Gibson Ashfield is a complicated man. And, being a complicated man, he has some complicated problems. I’ll explain more about this in a bit, but let it just suffice to say that writing his story out is slowly opening my eyes.
He’s not a good man. I’ve written him in a somewhat sympathetic way, but truly, he’s the villain. In the words of the title character of Megamind (2010): “I don’t save the day, I don’t fly off into the sunset, and I don’t get the girl.” Essentially, villains don’t win – and villains probably aren’t going to get to go to Heaven, either.
Well. We’ll see about that.
When writing a villain, especially in older films and novels before the rush of “redeemed bad guy” movies (one of which is Megamind), authors and film-makers alike enjoyed giving them dramatic deaths.
For many of these villains, death seemed the only option. There was no way they were going to change.
So kill them off. No one in the audience expects them to go anywhere but Hell – and honestly, do we even care? They’re that evil! *shudders*
Yet … these last couple days, I’ve been digging into the mind of a villain. A villain who doesn’t believe in himself – and who the audience doesn’t really believe in, either.
In Gibson’s mind, he is irredeemable. He may seem perfectly fine with living his life the way he is – but the truth is, he doesn’t believe he is capable of change.
Gibson had never really tried to be good—he wanted to be better than his father, but he also wanted to enjoy life without constraint. But even if he did try, he wouldn’t succeed.
~ At Her Fingertips | Kellyn Roth ~
There are so many people out there who don’t even admit that they are sinning – but for every person who denies that they are bad, there are even more who deny that they are capable of good.
You may be one of them. I know sometimes I feel like giving up. Like I’m just … too bad. Too evil. Too sinful.
I know it’s not easy to get past these feelings. It’s not like it’s going to happen just because you read this blog post. You’ll have to really believe it.
But you can keep this thought foremost in your brain: “It’s not true.”
“I don’t think you’re bad, Gibson. I think you’re lost.”
~ Peter Strauss | At Her Fingertips ~
Though not perfectly accurate and probably more empathetic than realistic, Peter has the right idea.
We’re all lost. Every single one of us. There’s not a single person on earth who is perfect, there never will be, and there never has been (save Jesus).
You see … Our salvation isn’t because of what we do. It isn’t because of who we are. It isn’t even because of our good intentions.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
So it’s not what you’ve done wrong that makes you sinful. You were born sinful. No matter what you do, you don’t become any more sinful based on your actions.
However, because of the sin inside of you, you will commit sins.
“There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.“
To return to our original example, Gibson Ashfield is not a bad man because of what he has done wrong. Yes, he has done many wrong things; however, these wrong things are nothing but an outward showing of what’s inside him.
Without Jesus, Gibson – and everyone else, in fact – is full of sin. Hopeless. And, yes, irredeemable.
In the words of Judy Kee:
“God is so big and great and powerful that He just can’t be around sin of any kind. I mean, He can do whatever He wants to, but we can’t be around Him if we sinned. He hates sin, and sin gets in us so it’s a part of us, even before we’re born.”
~ Flowers | Kellyn Roth ~
However, there’s hope.
This is a somewhat simplified version, but let’s turn back to Flowers for the rest of the story:
“God loves everyone so much that He wants us all to come live with Him. But that couldn’t happen … so God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to save us from our sins. He died on the cross, and so we can be clean.”
~ Judy Collier | Flowers ~
And that’s it. It’s not about what you can do for God, or how pure you can be, or all the good deeds you’ve done.
It’s about Jesus. It’s about the fact that He died on the cross to save us from our sins – and that’s it. We are saved. We’ve only to accept His freely-given gift.
Here’s what the Bible says about salvation.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
“Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t look like God is locking people out of Heaven because they’re too bad.
In my AWANAs class, whenever we ask the kids, “What does Jesus look like?” they hold out their arms and say, “Come to Me!” And that’s the truth of it. The honest and one and only truth.
God is standing there with open arms, waiting for you. But you have to become humble, let go of your stubborn pride, let go of yourself before you can go to Him.
But how can you know that you’re really saved? If you keep messing up? If you aren’t sure of Him? If you have doubts and fears? If the world still tempts you, if your life is so hard, and it’s impossible to see God in it?
Well … you can believe that you are truly saved because God said so.
If you gave yourself to Him, you are saved, once and for all. That’s it. You don’t need to doubt your salvation because He is your salvation, and He is always there for you.
“And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”
Now, I’m not going to give away spoilers, but suffice to say there is hope for Gibson Ashfield … and in fact, there’s hope for everyone.
There’s nothing that can keep us from God. If we cry out to Him, He will always hear us and answer.
So don’t worry about whether or not you’re worthy of His grace. You aren’t. But He’s so much greater than your sins.
Let’s close with one of my favorite songs. 😛
“I will always remain safe in the shadows of Your grace.”
A Quick Writing Update
I’m going to try to write the rest of Before a Fall (e.g. about 20K, give or take) in less than ten days.
What do you think? Is anyone too far gone for God? (If y’all say “no,” I’m recruiting you into my alpha team. Seriously. So say “yes” or else.) Are you excited for Before a Fall? Am I a madwoman?