My reflection verse this week is Luke 15:1-2.
Even in today’s society, ‘people of class’ are expected to hang out with other ‘people of class.’ If Donald Trump were to visit our city tomorrow, I would expect him to eat at the country club (after he bought it) and hang out with the wealthiest members of our area. The truth is, I don’t think that our area is wealthy enough or has enough investment potential to even show up on Trump’s radar.
The county lock-up is not too far from our church. If Trump came to our area, I would definitely not expect him to go hanging out with the prisoners. I do not mean to talk bad about Trump. He may be active in prison ministry, I do not know… I’m just using him as an example. I actually hear that Trump does a lot of charity work behind closed doors. The point is that based on how our society operates, I would not expect him to hang out with prisoners. That would go against the grain.
Jesus went against the grain. The Son of God, was walking the earth. I would expect someone that important to hang out with important people. Instead, he called a group of ordinary men to serve as disciples, and hung out with sinners and tax collectors. This went against the grain, and the important religious figures were a little upset. After all, Jesus should have been hanging out with THEM!
Jesus was starting something new. He was setting an example of loving the lost, and rejoicing in their recovery. He set an example of how Christians should love others. It is an example that we say we are following today, but I am not so sure. I think we still judge others. The old saying “love the sinner, hate the sin” has become an excuse for treating people poorly. We end up so busy hating the sin, that we forget to love the sinner. That is not the example that Jesus set.
We also tend to forget that we are all sinners, too. We are quick to put people in the ‘sinner’ category and forget to include ourselves. I am human, just like everyone else. I am also loved by God, and God loves everyone else, too. Even us ‘sinners.’
In the next two weeks, I am going to try to find a place where I can hang out with ‘sinners’ for a bit. I am not going to judge anyone. I am just going to hang out. One more sinner amongst other sinners. I wonder if there is a good bar in town. It’s been a while since I’ve shot a game darts. Cricket anyone? I look forward to being an ‘against the grain’ Christian. I’ll be sure to report how it goes.