Are You a Friend of Sinners?
It’s hard to embrace those who are different from us but we should
The word sin is an unpopular one in today’s culture. Postmodern thinking rejects moral absolutes and advocates that anything goes. Under an ideal of tolerance, society claims that to label an action as sinful is judgmental, closeminded, and unacceptable. Ironically they become intolerant of people who talk about sin.
In reality, everyone sins (Romans 3:23).
It’s just that we downplay or even ignore our own sins, while we recoil from the sins of others, which we deem as more objectionable or even abhorrent.
The Bible says Jesus is a friend of sinners (Matthew 11:19, Luke 7:34). This slur comes from his detractors, and he repeats it. They intend it as criticism, but we see it as a badge of honor. We admire Jesus for hanging out with the people that the righteous religious society rejects: prostitutes, adulterers, tax collectors, lepers, the sick and unclean, other races and mixed races, and so forth.
It seems Jesus accepts everyone the religious leaders discard. In fact he makes a point to do so, often going out of his way to welcome them. He embraces them; he loves them.
We respect Jesus for doing so. Shouldn’t we do the same? Shouldn’t we be like Jesus?Be like Jesus and embrace those the organized church reviles. Click To Tweet
Shouldn’t we make a point to behave more like Jesus and reach out to those the organized church reviles? Who might this be? The other political party? Muslims? The LGBT community? Pornographers? Those with a criminal record? The list goes on. There is no end.
Hosea writes that God desires mercy not sacrifice, that is, offering mercy trumps following a bunch of rules (Hosea 6:6). Jesus confirms this and adds that these folks are the reason he came (Matthew 9:12-13).
Let’s be more like Jesus and befriend those who the church rejects.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.