At the last supper, when Jesus informed his disciples that one of them was going to betray Jesus, they had a curious response.
So they began to argue among themselves which of them it could be who was going to do it.Luke 22:23 (CSB)
It is not like they all said, “Of course, it has to be Judas . . .”
My point is that Jesus, who knew the eventual outcome, did not treat Judas any differently than the rest of the disciples. His treatment of Judas was such that no-one suspected that there was a traitor in their midst.
If you have been attending church for a while, it is likely that you have encountered situations where believers have said things about non-believers that were not kind or were severely judgmental. Honesty dictates that I admit that my attitude and speech has not been patterned after Jesus’ example.
Jesus honored Judas, even while he was being betrayed by him.
Do you think that we could do the same with those who we might be tempted to see as not sympathetic to our teaching or way of life?
In the long run, it may not make a difference in the final outcome, but it certainly would make a difference in some lives if we lived as if everyone was valuable. More specifically, it would make a difference us if we lived this out.
Can we engage in dialog instead of seeking to make sure that our position is clear? Too often the church has shouted out positions about social issues rather than seeking to understand why they are issues in the first place. The problem with this approach is that it destroys any opportunity to build a relationship. It is in the context of relationship that humans grow and learn.
If we build a relationship, we may not come to agreement with the other person, but we will be in a better position to respectfully present what we believe and why.
The bottom line is that we are all broken in many ways. Some of that brokenness is visible to others, much of it is not. By accepting people where they are, we are living consistently with how Jesus approached the people around him.
Now, it must be also pointed out that Jesus accepted them but was never content to allow them to remain unchanged by relationship with him. But like the disciples who were unable to heal the boy with the demon, we are also unable to heal the people around us. Only Jesus can do that.
By building relationships with the people around us, we are then in a position to point them to Jesus, the only one that ultimately can bring any lasting change to any of us.