Acceptance in a Sycamore Tree
Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today. Luke 19:5, NIV
Zacchaeus—a hated tax collector, a traitor to his own people, and a thief—was no doubt often ridiculed and attacked for his sins. Lonely and curious, he climbed a tree to get a good look at this "Messiah." He had to wonder if Jesus would notice him. And if He did, would He too reject him?
What a miracle Christ's call must have been to this outcast!
Our Savior called Zacchaeus to fellowship with Him by the sharing of a meal, which was one of the most intimate social settings of the day. This was a deliberate offer of welcome, reception, and loving relationship.
In the midst of Zacchaeus's failures, Jesus offered compassion, companionship, and acceptance. It's interesting to note what Jesus didn't do that day: He didn't attack the tax collector's behavior, point out things that were wrong with him, or even give helpful advice. He didn't remind Zacchaeus of what he should be doing or criticize him for not taking more responsibility. Jesus didn't quote Scripture to Zacchaeus or make comparisons with other tax collectors in town. He didn't try to manipulate change or withhold affection.
I (Teresa) want to respond to David the way Christ responded to Zacchaeus. As I encounter David's inevitable failures, I want to be free from the impulse to be critical and give advice. I want to say words that are tender and welcoming, rather than judgmental and comparing. I want to make certain that the "welcome mat" is always out. To be like Christ will mean that I consistently invite David to fellowship with me.
I want to respond to David with words and actions that invite him to "come down out of the tree." After all, it gets awfully lonely up there!
What steps can you take today to replace words of judgment, comparison, complaint, and criticism with words of unconditional acceptance and love?
God, remind me to look to You as my example as I respond to the imperfections of others.