I really respect all of the people who comment on this blog. I appreciate your input and your concerns. This avenue has offered many relationships–sometimes with people I’ve not even had the privilege to meet yet. I really enjoy those relationships.
It is because of those relationships that I have a rather interesting question to pose to you all. I hope this doesn’t cause controversy, but conversation. So, as you comment (and I hope you will) please be considerate of opinions and speak with words that lift up.
In the kingdom of Jesus, He Himself dealt with some really messy people–spiritually speaking. He chose followers who definitely had issues. He walked and talked with people from crazy backgrounds and circumstances ranging from prostitutes to adulterers to religious fanatics. There are situations that many of us deal with in ministry that would fit into the category of “No Less Than Bizarre.”
How do we deal with so much bizarre behavior in our world? I know the Bible is filled with strange situations. Situations like God telling Hosea to marry a prostitute, churches in the New Testament with people who committed incest, and even homosexuality throughout the kingdom of their day. It teaches me that our really crazy world is not unique.
I used to think that God was more on the side of us staying out of those kinds of relationships. “Don’t hang out with the sinners or you’ll be like them” we were told as youngsters. We had a pig farmer in our church where I grew up and he would always tell us, “You can’t walk through the pigs without smelling like them.” That is a truism. Yet, Jesus hung out with the worst of the worse of His day, taught them about Himself, and even called them to take His message to the uttermost parts of the world.
I guess my question to all of you is this: How do we relate to the world better? How can I walk up to a person who is so different from me and help them know my Jesus? How can we get them to see that we really care and want them in a deep relationship with Jesus?
I think that there is going to have to be some real change in the way we present ourselves to the world. I believe that we are going to have to help them see by our actions and not just words that Jesus has made a real difference in us. Love the sinner, hate the sin, and do all we can to help them get our of their mess just like Jesus IS HELPING us out of ours.