Faithlife Sermons

Even Thugs Need Love

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Judges 11

It’s a terrible thing to get written off. 

Have you ever experienced the hell of being rejected?  Kicked to the curb.

Dumped, and made to feel that you were less than and not equal to. 

Made to feel that the sign on somebody’s life that says, ‘Keep Out no Trespassing’ is personally meant to you. 

It can break your heart, mess with your mind and sabotage your self-esteem when you experience the humiliating hell of rejection. 

Yet if we all will be honest, all of us know something about being written off.  Some have experienced growing up and having somebody in your family who you looked up to, looked down their nose of sanctimonious snobbery and jealousy at you and said, “You will never amount to anything”

It’s a terrible thing to be written off, and I’m already in somebody’s mail because you recognize every now and then we’re written off by people we look up to and believe in, only to discover they don’t believe in us. 

Rejection occurs on several levels 

You can be rejected in the context of relationships individually.  Have you been rejected by somebody you gave your love, money and honey to, only to discover that once you gave your all, your all was not good enough. 

And subsequently you developed a bad case of ‘stalkeritis’.  Because your heart can’t figure out what they were doing to you. 

‘Stalkeritis’ is a disease that forms once your heart has been broken by someone that you thought you would spend your whole life with, but they reject you and subsequently you develop ‘stalkeritis’

·       You go on their job about noon to see who has taken your place.  If you’re not careful you will go where their tires are and there is a temptation in your spirit to make sure that if they take this person to lunch, they will go on rims. 

·       It’s when you go to places you all used to go to make sure that they don’t have the unmitigated gall to bring some other skeezer up there. 

Because in a real sense you’re filled with so much hurt because you’ve been written off.

Family members can write you off 

Somebody in your home that made you feel that you won’t amount to anything.  Family members can write you off. 

Institutions can also write you off.  

Isn’t it sad that you can work hard and give everything you have to a job only to discover that they are downsizing and shipping your job overseas.  And make you feel that you’re not the right size. 

And once your job has been outsourced, it leaves you without an economic resource

There are many states that gauge how many prison cells they are going to need by the 3rd and 4th grade test scores of kids in our urban cities. 

Instead of correcting a dysfunctional educational process, they set up prisons so that we have a ‘classroom to prison cell pipeline’.  In reality this is institutional rejection that is experienced by our young black males. 

It’s humiliating to be rejected either by individuals or institutions. 

Being booed about a spouse who once you went home with dream or promotion God had given you they replied “There is no way for you to do that”.

Booed by a parent who looked at you when you told them what you were going to do and they told you,

“Your momma was no good, your daddy wasn’t no good”.  Booed by somebody you thought would be applauding you. 

Notice that is what goes down in the life of Japhthah. 

The Bible says that Jephthah gets booed at home. 

He knows the humiliating hell of being rejected by his family members over something he had no control over. 

In a real sense they put a label on him and limited him by the label they put on him.  In a real sense they categorized him in order to ostracize him. 

Then they stigmatized him in order to demonize him. 

That’s what people will do.  We live in a nation which when they can’t figure out others, it will categorize them in order to stigmatize and demonize them. 

Politicians do it all the time to get in office. 

They will play on the fears of the citizenry by demonizing the other candidate. 

I’m trying to tell you that is what happened in our text.  Jephthah was categorized, ostracized and demonized because the Bible says it was something that he had no control over. 

He was categorized the Bible says, because his momma was a ‘hoochee’.  A harlot, prostitute, a ho

And the daddy got with the momma. 

Let me stop right there so I won’t be one-sided.  

If the daddy stepped out with a ‘hoe’ that made him a ‘whoremonger’.  Because were there is a demand their will be a supply.  So you have a ‘whoremonger’who represented the demand, and a whore who represented the supply.  So once they came together and Jephthah was born, and his stepbrothers began to despise him. 

You now it had to be rough growing up in Jephthah’s house.  His stepbrothers teasing him, ‘Your momma is a hoe’

Jephthah is finally is kicked out of the house over something he had no control.  He is crippled emotionally because of something that went down between his momma and daddy. 

He is kicked out of the home over something that he had nothing to do with and the Bible says, ‘he hooked up with some thugs, some worthless people in the land of Tob’

He has been kicked out of his home and has gravitated toward people who will accept him. 

Running with some thugs and living a thug life. 

Stop playing holy! 

There is in our day and time the glamorization of ‘Thug Life’.  Tupac Shakur had a song entitled ‘Thug Life’. 

I believe that there are instances of honeys who want to get them some thug love.  And as a consequence honey got low, low, because they wanted some thug. 

Thugs are seen as strong, hard, roughneck, they want some thug love.  But don’t ever forget that behind some thugs story there is a tragic story.  To read the story of Tupac and Jephthah is to read of a life that knew only dysfunction and pain. 

But I serve a God who specializes in even taking a thug and straighten him out. 

Wait a minute you all are acting like you can’t relate to this message because you’re too ‘churchified’ and holy and never had been out there like that. 

So since you’re playing holy on me let me give you a ‘William Reece remix of Scriptures’ to let you know that no one is better than anyone else. 

The Bible says, “All have thugged and come short of the glory of God”. 

All we like thugs have thugged and gone astray. 

Now you maybe a church going thug, or a holy hoochee but guess what there is some thug in all of us! 

When we do stuff that we didn’t really want to do (some thug in us). 

We operate out of our pain (some thug in us). 

But I’m so glad that God specializes in taking rejection and opposition to set the stage for promotion that would not have taken place unless we had had that opposition. 

That’s my word for you today! 




Revives and


Those who have been rejected. 

If you have been rejected God will always blow you up bigger.  I was on a plane reading a newspaper I was through with and ready to trash.  I had done all that I was going to do with it, and it as no longer any good for me.  

At that moment the flight attendant came over the PA and said, “We are about to come by and collect all of your discarded newspapers because what is trash to you is still treasure to us”.  At that time the newspaper looked up at me and said, “See you were done with me, you used me, and now you have no use for me”

I wasn’t going crazy but I said you talking to me? 

You’re only a newspaper. 

Then he replied Shakespeare said there are sermons in stone.  

Jesus said if these hold their peace then rocks will cry out.  So if rocks can rejoice, and sermons can come from stones, you are about to get some preaching from some paper. 

I said “preach to me then paper”

He said, “you’re done with me because you have used me.  But if you put me in the right hands they will not put me in the trash because they recognize there is still potential in me. 

I just have to get in the right hands, and they will take me to a recycling center, where they will pick me up and clean me up and put me back into service.  If I had stayed with you I’d be trashed forever, but because ‘I got in the right hands’

Is there anybody in here who has been trashed? 

I’ve got some good news.  God will take you and clean you up and make a treasure out of you. 

Every Church ought to be a recycling center. 

We all have been trashed, but God saw something in us that no one else good see and there is still purpose in us. 

How does rejection set the stage for promotion that we would not have received had we not been rejected? 

The text says whatever happens to you does not have the last word on you.  Jepthah mother’s was a prostitute and out of that messy life he was born.  But look how the text describes him, ‘as a mighty man of valor’

·       Because his momma’s issue did not have to be an issue for him. 

·       His daddy’s issues did not become an issue for him. 

Whatever happened to you was not your fault. 

You did not invite that type of dysfunction, so stop blaming yourself. 

A painting was found in a trash can in New York. 

A masterpiece in the trash.  Somebody had stolen it and didn’t value it and through it in the trash because they were clueless to its value. 

A masterpiece created by a master artist, who created it out of his brilliant vision.  Once it was born somebody who was a clueless individual that didn’t know the real value of it so they trashed it. 

If somebody has trashed you, you’d better wake up and tell them, “You don’t know my value.  I am a piece of art.  I am God’s masterpiece.  Just because you don’t know my value doesn’t mean I don’t have value”.  When they found the masterpiece they were able to clean it up and it now has a higher price than it did before because of the trash it had been through. 

It was trashed but it never lost its value.  That is what I’m saying to somebody who has been in a trashy relationship.  You still have value.  Trashed on your job, you still have value.  What happen to you does not have the last word on you. 

There is a story of a woman who had lost her job. 

Predatory lenders had gotten to her and she took out a balloon payment which was coming due and she was about to lost her house. 

Her mother died the same year. 

Her husband walked out on her and their 3 kids. 

She lost her job.  Was dealing with a balloon payment, and was on the verge of losing home. 

It’s very close and she doesn’t know where the money is going to come from.  But watch this. 

Her mother is dead, her man has walked out on her and her kids, and it is looking bad.  Well she goes shopping during the Christmas holiday season determined to not let what was happening to her spoil Christmas for her children. 

She goes shopping and while going down an escalator she loses her footing and because her heel got caught in one of the crevices of the escalator had when it hit the bottom she fell down.  There she is on the ground, and imagine how she must have felt.

It’s the Christmas season where her misery has been magnified.  On top of that momma has died, her man has walked out, she is trying to give her kids a good Christmas, doesn’t know how she’s going to pay the balloon payment to keep her home she’s about to lose. 

Now she is on the ground. 

Her heart is heavy, and broken and she begins to cry right there on the ground. 

But through her tears while she is on the ground she looks to the right and sees a Louie Vitton wallet.  Based on what she was going through something was telling her to just keep the wallet and head on home.  But the Word had been taught to her

So she took it to the lost and found.  But once she took it to the lost and found they paged the owner who rushed back to reclaim her LV wallet.  She said, “Who found this wallet?  I have to give them something because my life is in this wallet”. 

She gave her 2 $100 bills, and then wrote her a check for $2,000, and said, “you just don’t know how you have saved my life”.  And the woman said, “you don’t know how you have saved my Christmas, and my life. 

Because I’m about to lose my home.

I’ve lost my momma.

My man as walked out on me”. 

And the woman said, hold on, why are you going to lose your home? 

Because I have a payment that I can’t handle. 

Don’t you worry about that, my daddy owns a mortgage company, you come on home with me and we will save your home. 

Hold on look what happened to her:

Her man walked out.

Her momma died.

She was about to lose her home.

She falls down and while she was down she sees something through her tears that she would not have seen had she not fallen down! 

Is there anybody here that knows just because you’re down it doesn’t mean that you’re done! 

Because God will show you something while you’re down that you would not have seen unless you had fallen down. 

Wait it gets better.  The text says that when you get kicked to the curb, you can land in a ‘good place’

When somebody kicks you to the curb they don’t know they’re kicking you up. 

·       Look back over your life and think where you would be if you and stayed stuck on stupid with so and so. 

·       Think about the money you have now that you would not have had if you had not gotten out of that relationship. 

·       Think about how jacked up your credit was as long as you were with her, and as long as you were with him. 

What you do go by the nearest Hallmark store, buy a sympathy card that says, ‘I’m sorry for your loss’, and send it to them. 

Let them know that ‘you’ are the one! 

Jepthah said, I got kicked but I’m in Tob which in Hebrew means ‘good place’. 

Jepthah got kicked to the curb, but ended up in a good place. 

Some of you all are playing holy right now, because you know that you once got kicked, but you are in a good place. 


Because there is the tension in Tob.  In Tob you have some riff raff.  Sometimes when you are in a good place you can end up kicking it with some bad people.  But God is about to do a good thing. 

The text said that while he was at Tob, God went to work behind his back.  God went to work in Gilead, and the Amorites attacked the Gileadites, and they said nobody can handle this kind of thing, but I’ve heard of a thug named Jepthah who used to live here. 

Let’s go get him because he’s running with some riff raff, some gangs, so he knows how to fight.  So let’s get him to fight this battle. 

Tob is where God is working out something behind your back, setting something up for you, that God could not have set up had you not been rejected. 

Jepthah had been kick out and landed in Tob where he receives a promotion he would not have received had he not been kicked out of where he was.  Favor ain’t fair. 

God has a way where you think you’ve been forgotten and nobody can see you.  This is called favor for the forgotten, which means out of nowhere. 

The last shall be first, the first shall be last.  Is there anyone here who felt like you were in the end of line, and God said, ‘this way’, and made away out of no way. 

He pointed you out and made a way for you. 

Rejection is direction. 

Keep on playing through the boos.

No weapons formed against you shall prosper.

When other folks write you off, God is still writing.

When they wrote Mandela off, he spent 27 years in prison, but God kept on writing.  And he became the first president in the new Nation of South Africa.

They wrote off a young boy in Hawaii whose father walked out on him.  But that young boy hooked up with Jesus and now he’s the president of the U.S.

They wrote my Savior off one dark Friday.

They wrote Him off when they nailed Him on The Cross, but early one Sunday morning God kept on writing. 

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