“Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach.”- Luke 15:1
I LOVE that they felt comfortable enough to go listen to Jesus teach. Jesus draws people in. By:
These were notorious sinners but they did not feel so judged and ashamed that they could not be around him. So as a follower of Jesus I ought to reflect my Savior. Do others feel judged around me? Do I exude such love, grace, mercy, peace and hope that others are drawn in by it?
I am ashamed to say that there have been so many times where I pushed people farther from Jesus than draw them closer to him.
Tax collectors were despised by all especially the religious because they were taxed more heavily. So they were like black sheep. People did not want to be their friend.
The religious church people were so angered by the “sinners” coming to Jesus. They wondered how could Jesus allow them to be near them. But Jesus went beyond being near them and actually shared a meal with them. In that culture, eating with someone is an intimate thing, it meant you associate with them.
I love how Jesus does not live according to the church people’s social rules. I love that He will still not be boxed by them today.
So I go to church and we lead a church but I pray we are not like “church people.”
But the sad truth is that I have been a self righteous judgmental jerk. I have allowed fear and ignorance to creep in and poison my attitude at times.
I am in process and on a journey. I believe God has worked in my heart so much. As I continue to grow in self awareness (I can’t change if I don’t get honest with seeing my junk) and emotional health it helps me to grow in grace.
I think back to me being a young follower of Jesus and I cringe at my self righteous attitude. I thank God that He does not leave me as I am but continually changes me.
It is my prayer to be like Jesus. I pray our church is like Jesus. I pray we draw in people that other churches/church people would be angry that we would hang out with them. Not to spite them at all but to be more like the One who saved us.
What groups of people are marginalized by society? Who are you afraid of? Whom do you judge and write off?