Friday, October 05, 2007

Jesus: The Friend of Sinners

Came across these words on a blog post the other day.

You know, I got to thinking about how some Christians are so ridiculous when it comes to dealing with unbelievers. And I thought about it this way: Would unbelievers call Christians the friends of sinners? Hardly. The sad fact is that Christians today see unbelievers as the enemy and not the precious lost sheep that Christ came to find... (more)

Take a couple of minutes to read the entire post. I think it's right on. And my question is (one question of many)... why does the church shrink back from unbelievers rather than embracing them?


  1. Joel,

    Thanks for sharing that. I suspect it goes back to a legalistic interpretation of "in the world, but not part of the world." Or maybe some Christians want to keep up appearances, as did the Pharisees, not wanting to be seen with "tax collectors and sinners." I love Jesus' response to them:

    "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

    I think that legalism causes you to see yourself as better than others who don't come up to your standard of "holiness."

    I have a friend who ended up getting divorced after his wife and daughter fell off into an extremely legalistic (if not cultish) branch of the Church of Christ. His wife and daughter don't have much to do with him, even going as far as not inviting him to his own daughters wedding because he wouldn't convert to their religion.

    If that isn't enough, there is another church here that has a dress code posted on their front door. If you don't meet the dress code, you don't get in. I feel myself about to go off on a fleshy rant, so I will turn the bus around. :)

    Take Care,

  2. Your wonderful blog has been awarded by cybeRanger as "Best Christian Blog of the Week" @

  3. I'm very guilty of this. Last winter, I had neighbors who said they believe, but I was questioning it because they cussed, smoked, and whatever. Anyway...I remember talking to them about the church I go to to (home group) and they asked if they could go. Well...I was feeling that whole "ugh" thing. I didn't want them to go. They were weird, they didn't dress nice, and so on. So they were supposed to go with me one Sunday, and so I called my group leader Don and asked him if it was ok. But I was really calling to let him know that I think "these people are weird." In other words, "I didn't want them to come...they're SINNERS!!!"

    This is what living under law does. It doesn't matter how much law it is. I was under the whole "balance" doctrine. It wasn't stuff like don't dance, don't go to movies, dress like this, etc.

    In some aspects, it's worse than full blown legalism. Because in the balance theory, there is A LOT of uncertainty. You never really know where you stand. It's a foggy, unsure place.

    And so I thought these guys were insincere, and I hated being around them. And they weren't very attractive.

    It sounds like I rejected Jesus. That's how He is described.

    Yet, I considered myself a follower of His. I honestly don't think I was saved until recently. Because until recently, I was still trusting in my works and Jesus. I never really put complete faith in Jesus until now.

  4. Adding to my previous comment, about having not yet put my faith completely in Jesus...

    I was never able to under the law. The law was nullifying my efforts to trust completely in Jesus. Thus, I really don't believe I was saved.

  5. Matthew,

    I go through something similar every Sunday. There is a young man who comes to our church every Sunday. He wears black most of the time and has piercing in his ears and eyebrows. My flesh would battle my Spirit about it every Sunday. My flesh is a little repulsed by the way he looks. It wishes he would come to church a little more presentable. But then the Spirit tells me that he is my brother in Christ and that Jesus didn't have to stoop any lower to save him that He did to save me.

    After that, it comes down to a choice...I can choose to accept him as he is just as Jesus accepted me the way I am. I chose to accept him and got to know him and I came to find out that he wasn't the person my flesh supposed that he was. That is what walking in the Spirit is about, choosing to listen to and believe what God is telling you over what your flesh is telling you.

    God is good!


  6. Matthew,

    I forgot the most important part...I think that it's awesome that you trusted Jesus to be your Lord and Savior.

    Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25

    Praise God!


  7. CybeRanger... thanks for the honor! :) You have lots of interesting blogs on your site and I feel privileged to be part of it. I'll be checking out more of them in the days to come.


  8. Wow guys, yeah, I can certainly relate to all of this too, especially as I look back at my early "on fire" days in my walk with Jesus. It wasn't just Christians, but everyone I met (including unbelievers) had to look a certain way and act a certain way if I was going to be associated with them.

    I think that what a person looks like on the outside (outward appearance) still plays a role in my initial impression of people, but I think (hope) I'm growing in how I approach people. Each and every person on earth has worth in the eyes of God, and even though it may take a while to get into people's hearts, the way to do it is not through condemnation or judgmentalism.

    Indeed it's the sick who go to the doctor, and we find that the Great Physician would often go to the sick and not just wait for them to come to Him.

    This conversation is really getting into my heart, because I never again want to be the one who looks down on anybody else. As you said, Gary, Jesus didn't stoop any lower for anybody else than He did for me.

    I mean, we want to lead these people to Jesus, right??? I don't think we're going to do that through separatism and judgmentalism. I do think there is some sort of fear factor there for some people - the fear of falling into the same things that "the world" is doing, so we stay away. And intimidation perhaps plays a role for some people. Intimidated by the sinfulness or "darkness" of sinners.

    One more thing, perhaps a bigger thing for some than for others, is the thought that the goal is to get this person to change. People in the legalistic church seem to have the notion that the reason people need Jesus is so they can change their behavior from "bad" to "good." So they may look at a certain person and either consciously or subconsciously make the judgment that this person simply can't be changed, or it will be too much work to get this person to change, so they stay away and don't bother to get involved in that person's life. No matter what, they're looking at the person from the wrong perspective!

    If our goal is to love people, because it's our nature in Christ to love people, then our perspective can change. In this respect, it's US who needs to change, and not the sinner. :) And then we can go about our life with the goal of loving people, and instead of leading them from "bad" to "good," we can lead them from death to Life.