Saturday, April 10, 2010

Get your life right, then come find me.

Mark 2:15-17 (New King James Version)

15 Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. 16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?”
17 When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."

I have been reevaluating the way I look at people and how I interact with them. Until the last year or so, if someone did not live the way that I thought they should, I would be polite but would make no effort to get to know them. I basically had the attitude "Get your life right, then come find me." That was so wrong! That was not the attitude Jesus had.

The more I have been reading scripture I am finding that Jesus was harshest with the religious community, not the sinners. So how do I apply this "new to me" truth of Scripture? It has made me step way out of my comfort zone and be willing to set aside my preconceived notions about people. I may not agree with the decisions people are making or the direction of their lives, but as long as they are willing to spend time with me and my family, I will let them. More than that, I will be an encouragement and help to them in any way I can. I will try, in every humanly possible way, to let the love of Jesus Christ for them be evident in me. I have been trying to get my priorities straight and really apply the following scripture:

1 Corinthians 13

The Greatest Gift
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Seems simple right? It should be. Unfortunately, I am not as good at it as I should be. To strangers, or people I do not know very well, it has been easy. The people I am struggling to show/feel the love of Christ for are actually family members! The more I observe people, I am finding that this seems to be a common thing. We treat people we barely know better than our own family members! Especially if that family member is making what we think are bad decisions. We as Christians ( myself included) seem to be more than willing to forgive "seventy times seven" when it is a "pagan", but when it is family, it is "three strikes and your out"! We say things to our family members that we would never even consider saying to someone else. This is a huge damage to our testimony.

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

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