Eat with Sinners


Jesus didn’t just think loving thoughts toward sinners—He spent time with them. How can you do the same?

Later when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew’s house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them. When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit, and lit into Jesus’ followers. "What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and riffraff?" Jesus, overhearing, shot back, "Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: I’m after mercy, not religion. I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders." Matthew 9:10–13, MSG

I was talking to a couple of other women at the health club, and in the course of conversation, one of the women said that her family has taken in one of her son’s friends: a teenager whose family life is so bad that he needed to escape it. She didn’t mention any religious motivation for doing this.

I don’t know if this woman is a Christian, but she sure was acting like one, at least in this area of her life. That’s no small sacrifice, to take in a troubled teenager.

I have Christian friends, on the other hand, who avoid hanging out with the other moms from the PTA or the neighborhood who are not believers. They don’t like how those moms drink beer or swear or forward dirty jokes on e-mail.

If we claim to follow Jesus, it does not mean we simply believe that the things He taught are true. It does not mean that our only mission is to convince others they are true—although that may be part of it. To follow anyone means to go where they go, to do as they do. So we have to ask ourselves—do we, in our 21st century lives, ever eat with sinners? Jesus didn’t just think loving thoughts toward sinners. He spent time with them. He extended amazing grace that changed lives and hearts.

How can we do the same?

FAITH STEP: Who is someone you consider an “outsider” that perhaps Jesus is asking you to reach out to?

Contributed by Keri Wyatt  Kent








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