“Those People”

It’s been a while since I have written a blog. I just haven’t had ideas or thoughts that have given me a huge desire to rant in blog form. Today’s rant or thought is a result of something that has been stirring inside of me for the past little while. I have been thinking about the problem of what I would call “brokenness.” I have noticed in our society we label people and put them into categories of how successful they are. We rate them on things like their appearance, their social status, their employment, and their achievements. Not only do we rate people this way but, in North America, it seems we expect people to meet certain expectations and standards. We judge people who are social outcasts, impoverished, uneducated, or undomesticated.

Sometimes I worry that the church (for the most part) is no different. I say this because I am pretty sure that if someone who swore a lot, or dressed funny, or smelled funny or had what we defined to be a sinful lifestyle came to our church we would be shocked or at least uncomfortable. I can just imagine the reaction of most church attendees if someone, while speaking or sharing a testimony in church, swore and used the f-bomb. There would most definitely be an awkward silence or at least a gasp.

In Mark 2:17 when Jesus was asked why he hung out with what his society would deem social outcasts, he responds by saying:”It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” If Jesus said that why do we expect so much from people? Why do we get so uncomfortable around “sinners?” Why aren’t we sacrificing our comfort and our social status or appearance to serve and be a companion to the downtrodden or social outcast? Why do we get so shocked when someone swears or talks about their drug addiction or sinful habits? Aren’t we supposed to be Jesus’ hands and feet? Don’t people understand following Jesus and loving people like he did takes sacrifice?

The Irony of all this is that sometimes I feel as though we in the church are more like the Pharisees and Sadducees (the high class people in Jesus’ day who asked why he hung out with such an odd bunch) then anyone else. The spiritual leaders of Jesus’ day said and did all the right things. They were respected by the community but in Matthew 23:27-28 Jesus says this to them:  “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” Jesus’ warning to them is way more stern than to those His culture would define as sinners! Why!? they thought they had it all together! They thought they didn’t need a doctor!

We cannot deny that we in the church struggle with sins too. The Ashley Madison leak is a prime example. Relevant posted an article that said 400 church leaders and pastors would have to resign as a result of being linked to this site that promotes affairs. (http://www.relevantmagazine.com/slices/expert-400-church-leaders-will-resign-sunday-because-names-surfaced-ashley-madison-hack) Many of these people are leaders we thought had it all together.

The truth is we all sin; our sins may not be as visible and may not look as obvious or painful but we are still sick and in need of a doctor. Luckily Jesus is the great physician. He made a way for us to be healed of our sins through the death of His son Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins. We have experienced abundant Grace so let us be quick to share that grace with everyone even if our culture deems them as outcasts or different.

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