Read Romans 8:38-39
ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“I tell you the truth, all sin and blasphemy can be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. This is a sin with eternal consequences.” (Mark 3:28–29 NLT).
As you are about to find out, this week is [un]officially The Walking Dead week here at Life-Giving Water Ministries. Why? Because Season 11 is soooo good so far and I am super stoked after this past week’s episode. Man, it is really, really good and so I have hereby declared this week, in 2021, The Walking Dead week. That has absolutely no bearing on anything, and probably will be forgotten about beyond this week, but today I bring to you another TWD-themed message.
My favorite character in The Walking Dead is a man by the name of Negan. For anyone who has watched the show and knows who Negan is, you might be wondering what on earth I drank or smoke prior to writing this. For those of you who are wondering how to even pronounce NEGAN (for your reference, Nee-gan) and have no clue who he is, let’s just say that his story on the show has a less than pleasant beginning.
！SPOILER ALERT！ Let me warn you now, there will be some spoilers in this so if you have any interest watching the show someday, you might want to stop reading now and come back to this when you’re ready. We first meet Negan as the leader of the Saviors, a group who are 150,000% dedicated to their leader. In fact, this is so much the case that when anyone asks “who’s Negan”, they will rise up and each of them say, “I am Negan”, in order to protect him. Why? Because, though he’s harsh, he does offer them safety provided they abide by his rules. To fail to do so could cost someone far more than their life.
At the end of Season 6, Rick Grimes and his group of survivors are caught by Negan and the Saviors and they are all forced to kneel in a circle, facing Negan as he walks around addressing each of them. His left hand is dangling opened by his side, his right hand is clutched around the handle of an old-fashioned Lousiville Slugger that has barbed-wire wrapped around it. The bat itself is rested on his shoulder and he is clearly playing with his “enemies”. Of course, his enemies are our friends, so-to-speak, and so we are totally not a Negan fan in this scene.
We find out that at the end of the scene, Negan is going to repay Rick and his crew for attacking an outpost of theirs. Rick had done that to protect his family and friends from Negan’s increasingly aggressive and oppressive interactions with them. They felt they had no other option and they killed the people at the outpost. Well, Negan did not appreciate that gesture and so, to get revenge, he tells them that he’s going to kill one of them. Then the season ends. That’s it. They leave you hanging to the very end.
At the beginning of Season 7, episode 1, we pick back up there and we finally see that Negan has chosen to kill Abraham, who he beats to a pulp with his bat. Angered by that, Daryl curses at Negan and threatens him and so Negan randomly turns and beats in the head of Glenn Rhee, the loving husband of Maggie, who witnesses the gory horror unfold before her eyes. Adding to that, Maggie is pregnant with Glenn’s child.
From there, Rick and the group are forced to be subjegated under Negan and he get’s harsher and harsher with them, forcing them to rise up and fight. To make a very long story short, Negan is defeated eventually and becomes a prisoner of Alexandria, Rick’s community. From there, Rick begins to empathize with Negan and believe he’s redeemable. Rick has to believe that because if Negan is not redeemable, are any of them? Empathy, compassion, forgiveness, redemption, those were the things that made Alexandria different that the Saviors.
Though Rick would end up disappearing, his son Carl would end up dying, and much time would pass, Rick’s legacy carried on in Negan who eventually went from begin a prisoner to a contributer to the community. Still, not everyone is convinced. Maggie, for instance, cannot let go of her hatred for Negan because of what he did to her husband and she cannot understand why Rick and the rest of the community didn’t get avenge her husband’s death.
So, here’s the question for you: is someone like Negan redeemable? Without getting into the difficulty that Maggie has in moving past her hurt, grief and righteous anger, is somene like Negan redeemable? If, by that question, you hear is Negan deserving of redemption? No! Of course not! There’s nothing he could do to earn redemption for what he did; however, that is not the question being posed. Is someone like Negan redeemable? In other words, can God save and transform someone like Negan. The show’s response is straight out of the Bible: YES!!! No one is “unredeemable”! No one is outside of the power of God’s saving grace! The story of Negan is the story of you and I. We’ve all done things that are shameful and destructive; however, this is NOTHING that can separate us from the love of our God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let us, therefore, rejoice and witness to the world of that good news…and let us avoid falling into the pitfall of casting judgment on others.
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
To judge is to proclaim that you are God.
Lord, keep me from falling into judgment, but promote a spirit of forgiveness and grace within me. Amen.