It is a good time for those of us who follow Jesus to remember His example. In His day, the most highly respected people were the super-religious, the ones who made a lifestyle and outward display of doing everything they thought God wanted them to do. The least respected people were prostitutes and tax collectors (generally considered to be traitorous and dishonest). And yet,
“Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. – (Matthew 21:31b)
Make no mistake: it was not that Jesus approved of the things such people were doing. To the contrary, He had compassion on them, knowing how much they were hurting inside. He did not condemn them or marginalize them; He loved them and offered them a new way of life.
Whoever you believe are the lowest and least respectable, the type least likely to be welcomed into religious circles, those are the people among whom you would have found Jesus. When He engaged in angry rhetoric, it was against those who puffed themselves up with religious pride and looked down upon those who were suffering from destructive choices. If we become known for angry rhetoric against the ones Jesus came to seek and save, we do not represent Him well.
Well, there you go making perfect spiritual sense again.
What is so very challenging is that most of those who are suffering from destructive choices are also seeing us as ‘the stench of death’ rather than the ‘aroma of life’. They hate anything Christian before we even say a word. It makes me want to recoil as well — and write them off —
the very people He came to save.
God, grant me your compassion. And wisdom, please.