Showing the Way Out
I’ve long joked that sympathy is overrated. When things are going bad for me, I really don’t want someone to tell me they know how I feel. I want someone to come and say, “Yes, I know how you feel and I know the way out.”
I think we forget how completely sin messes up our lives. Sin not only messes up our lives, it messes up the way our minds and bodies work. Ever talked to people trying to justify their addiction? In their minds, they’re making complete sense. That’s what happens. Sin destroys relationships, bodies, minds, and souls.
That’s why telling someone what they’re doing is wrong without offering to help them get out of it is, well, pretty much a waste of time. You may feel better, but the person you’re talking to won’t. What’s more, they’ll probably just get mad and walk away, more committed to their destructive choices.
Jesus shows us another way. First, Jesus never confronted anybody without giving that person a way out. The religious leaders of the day, Jesus pointed out, were quick to make a lot of rules but never helped anyone keep them. Jesus would always point the person to the way out of bondage.
Second, Jesus walked with sinners as they found their way. The scandal of the incarnation is that God loves us so much that He came into our world. He walked into our lives and told us if we’d follow Him, He’d show us the way home.
Since the beginning of time, God has been on a Divine rescue mission. We, the local church, are extensions of that work. Finding the lost is great, but telling them the way home—and then walking it with them—is even better.