WHEN we think about losers, addicts and prostitutes often come to mind. However, many of us are experienced losers in different ways. Some have lost money in ill-conceived ventures or investments. Some have lost spouses, parents or children whether through death or by divorce. Others have lost jobs or even careers. However, the most profound loss is that of a loved one. Losing a beloved parent, mother or father, can bore a hole in anyone’s heart. I recall a relative of mine who recently lost a two-year-old child through a horrific accident. He fell from the 14th floor of an apartment building. Every time I think about that incident, it makes me cringe. How much more does that parent feel about the loss of her child?
Many are currently losing much in this COVID-19 economy. You hear of stories where businesses fail, people dislodged from their jobs and livelihoods. I have read horror stories of young children having lost both parents.
So, loss is synonymous with hurt, and that pain is frequently associated with two classes of losers.
A person who has lost property, prestige, relationships or wealth is one type of loser. The other is the type who finds himself at the lowest rank of society. Those are people for whom we hold little regard, people who cannot seem to get over their bad luck – the prostitutes and drug addicts. They are often people who own only the clothes on their backs with nowhere to live; the family-forsaken; the vagrants and those who make frequent trips to prison.
Does God care about your failure or loss? (Webster’s definition of loser: Scums, trash, failures & duds).
First of all, God cares about people who are failures; but most critically, he cares about what you have lost “He has regarded the prayer of the destitute and has not despised their prayer” (Ps. 102:7). Destitute is another term for loser. So, clearly God is concerned with the plight of the impoverished, needy, indigent and deprived – the ones deemed losers.
He cares about the least among us, but also cares for our loss. Jesus affirms that in his teachings as he related several stories on loss: The Lost Sheep (Matt. 18:12-14) The Lost Coin (Luke 15:8–10). “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).” Jesus’ entire mission on earth was a work of restoration. He came to reclaim our dispossession – to reestablish our deficits, to redeem us from sin, to reconcile the world to God, to reestablish the character of God in humankind, and elevate us from the category of losers to victors.
Charles Darwin, in his theory on ‘Natural Selection’, suggests that poverty is a natural phenomenon, and that poverty is a weakness that is driven solely by our genetic composition – in essence, implying people can be born-losers. Since Darwin, many of his disciples have advocated for social policy ignoring the poor and indigent – suggesting that such losers cannot be elevated (Neo-liberalism perpetuate that notion). Darwin’s followers posit that the genes of poor people hinder any social climb.
But God cares for the destitute/ loser.
“The Son of God stooped to uplift the fallen. For this He left the sinless worlds on high, the ninety and nine that loved Him, and came to this earth…” (Isaiah 53:5).
While Darwinians and the likes forecast a bleak outlook for losers, God still cares and sacrificed for them. While we turn our noses up at those less fortunate than we may be, God sacrificed his son for them.
God restores Loss
Joel 2:25 “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. 2:26 And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.”
After your season of loss, there will be a season of plenty, because God is in the business of restoring the loser and the restoration of loss.
If we are God’s children, what should our attitude be towards losers – Jail birds, vagrants, homeless, zombies?
Our dispositions should reflect God’s attitude towards the fallen as implied in Matthew 25: 31-40:
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, …He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, … take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
All of those situations mentioned in verses 34 to 36 fit the notions of destitution and because you cared for those people, you are welcome into God’s kingdom – whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Our position is not to judge who is loser or saint but to be kind to all, because the next vagrant you help, may not be a loser, but a prince on his way to heaven.