And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Mt 9:10-13)
Jesus ate dinner with the outcasts of society, the people that others, wrapped in their feather-padded pews, went out of their way to avoid.
He wasn't afraid to be seen with a tax collector, a group of lepers, an adulteress, a Samaritan in an unmarried relationship, a mad man who cut himself with stones.
This thought convicts me. I've seen more than one group of well-dressed "Christian" saints, ensconced in their perfect bubbles where the air is clean and the ground is sanitized, turn their noses up because something might taint them.
Jesus didn't do that. When a woman kissed His feet, He forgave her. When a man was let down through the ceiling of a house, He healed him. When He hung on the cross, He forgave the thief at his side and the people who put Him there.
He rubbed shoulders with the rich, the poor, the ungodly, the porn addict, the drug dealer, the carjackers of his day. He touched the untouchable.
How can we, as lights of the world, be like Him when we're afraid to step outside of the shield we've built up in front of us?
Nowhere in the Bible does it say to live that way. In fact, we're told we're IN the world to make a difference. Let's be honest. Which draws someone to Christ ... the judgmental church-goer who hears a curse word and cleanses her ears? Who shakes a visitor's hand and then gets out his hand sanitizer? Who tells their friends on Facebook or Twitter how some "horrible person" posted this or that and they're SUPPOSED to go to church?
I hope that's not you.
Stand up on the pew and be counted, my friend, instead of hiding behind it. It's a spot to learn, not a throne for you to hold court. It's a place of prayer and study, of worship and dedication, so that when you leave that place, when the guy at the gas station with a beer in his hand says, "Good morning," you're not looking at him thinking, "Oh, yeah, and how much have you drank?"
Because Jesus didn't do that. Jesus shook that man's hand and said, "I love you."
Ask yourself now if you can do that and if not, be convicted. I know I am.
Suzanne D. Williams