I read the following paragraph in Learning Evangelism from Jesus by Jerram Barrs and thought I would share it with you:
“But Jesus was a different kind of holy man and teacher. We have already seen that Jesus did not seek to keep apart from sinners. He also did not turn sinners away. Jesus did not abuse sinners, single them out for condemnation, or avoid them. Rather, he was a teacher who spoke words of comfort and grace to them, a teacher who showed them such respect, honor, and love that many of them responded by happily turning away from their sin. This, of course, was what happened in the life of Zacchaeus. Grace and mercy are far more effective means of creating love and devotion than condemnation. A new affection for Christ has a much greater power to drive out sin and bring lasting repentance than any sermon on moral improvement, or any program for straightening out one’s life.”
The problem with this is that to follow in Jesus’ footsteps in this regard will get a little messy. The lines of demarcation will get a little blurred. People might criticize us for associating with the wrong kind of people.
But messy and blurred are poor excuses for doing what we are called to do. Yes, it is uncomfortable to interact with people that are different from us. But that is what we are called to do.
Perhaps one of the reasons we shy away from interacting with “sinners” is because they remind us of our own failures. In reality we are all sinners, but some of us are better at hiding it than others. We are all just one poor choice away from a moral train wreck.
If we are honest, the fact that we are not moral train wrecks has more to do with God’s grace than our ability (Tweet this) to live out the Christian life. So why not extend that same grace to others?
Grace combined with even a modicum of mercy will have a powerful effect.