As an adult, I love getting coupons in the mail that are redeemable with my next purchase at a favorite store. My daughter-in law saves coupons that can be redeemed for all kinds of things from baby diapers, dining out, detergent, food items, to haircuts. She has her own system all worked out and is highly organized.
I looked up the meanings of redeem online in The Free Dictionary by Farlex. This is what I found:
Redeem tr. v. redeemed, redeeming, redeems 1. To recover ownership of by paying a specified sum. 2. To pay off (a promissory note, for example). 3. To turn in (coupons, for example) and receive something in exchange. 4. To fulfill (a pledge, for example). 5. To convert into cash (as in redeem stocks). 6. To set free; rescue or ransom. 7. To save from a state of sinfulness and its consequences. 8. To make up for: (The low price of the clothes dryer redeems its lack of special features.) 9. To restore the honor, worth, or reputation of: (You botched the last job but can redeem yourself on this one.)
I love the term “redeem” as it refers to people. I believe that people are redeemable. I think we all make mistakes, do dumb things, let people down, disappoint ourselves, and wish we could have “do overs.” All of that is redeemable.
In the recent revival at Harvest Worship Center in downtown Harlan, revival has been going on. Pastor Bo Lee and Evangelist Glenn Wilson have brought messages of hope and redemption night after night. I’ve lost count of how many people have made decisions to give their life to God or make re-commitments of faith during this time. It is somewhere around 70 in the last month.
There are such a variety of things that keep people broken and alone in this world, separated from their Creator. Sin, in one form or the other is one of the main culprits and the other is a lack of understanding of God’s love and redemptive power. A person who cheats at business, one who lies, the adulterer, unfaithful, filthy mouthed, murderer, porn addicted, drug abuser, alcoholic all have one thing in common. They are redeemable. The love of God makes us all, in spite of our failures and imperfections, redeemable.
I’d like to review the definitions of the word that I found online. Redeem: to recover ownership of by paying a specified sum. God created us, He was our Father, but when we as humankind entered a state of willful disobedience that separated mankind from Him, Christ offered up His life in our stead that God might once again extend His love and ownership because the payment for our sin was made by Christ. 2. Christ paid off our debt. He paid the ultimate price — His own life. 3. He turned himself in and received our freedom in exchange. 4. He fulfilled His Father’s will to bridge the gulf between God and mankind and open the door for individuals to restore that personal connection with their creator. 5. When we embrace a relationship with God freely, we turn ourselves in and convert ourselves into His likeness so that all the best of our individual selves is free to thrive. 6. We are set free from the bondage of our sins, addictions, and failures. We are rescued from a sinful nature that causes us to be selfish and motivated only for personal needs. 7. We are saved from a state of sinfulness and its consequences (which are death and eternal separation from God.) 8. This gift of Christ’s sacrifice makes up for all of our shortcomings and inadequacies. 9. When we are redeemed, we have our honor restored, our worth, our reputation. We become who we were meant to be - a child of God.
In every definition and characteristic of being redeemed, the portrait of God’s love and redemptive plan and power is evident.
People often talk about God “redeeming the time” that we’ve squandered in our lives, opportunities lost, mistakes made. There is a little poem about time we’ve lost.
He slept beneath the moon. He basked beneath the sun. He lived a life of going to do and died with nothing done. — James Albery
Even though we can’t go back in time and erase the mistakes or have the years of our lives reinstated, God can give us a future where we have the opportunities to learn from the past, make better choices, and turn it all over to Him for the best possible outcome as He directs our paths.
Things that can be redeemed have a value all their own. A pop bottle, a sales coupon, or a sweepstakes ticket all represent things that can be redeemed because someone else has set a value for their worth. What about broken relationships between people? Broken marriages? Business partnerships? Broken promises? Lies told? Rumors started? Angry words? Betrayals? Divorces? Unpaid loans? Lost opportunity? Broken hearts?
Every single one of those things is redeemable. Every one of those things has value. If people are willing to pay the price, almost any situation can be redeemed in the presence of forgiveness, love, mercy, compassion, grace, understanding and hope.