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Friday, August 16, 2019

He Ate With Tax Collectors And Sinners

Have you ever wondered why the "wrong" people were so comfortable with Jesus around? We tend to turn this around and go, "Jesus ate with sinners. We should, too." That's not wrong. But what do the sinners see? What do they get out of it?

The best kind of sinners know they are sinners. There is no pretense or hiding. There is no act to put on. Other sinners like to find Gripe Rooms (like bars) to hang out together and talk about those who judge them unfairly. If you hear about a megachurch or something that proclaims itself a "judgment-free zone," for example, you have found Christians who have fallen for the act. You can't lure the proud into a deeper union with God. They don't want it, and it's opposite of the Kingdom. Seriously, though, how are you gonna save someone from a disaster they can't name fully? What are you saving them from?

The gaze of Jesus shows the truth without pushing away. The gaze of Jesus grants the freedom to surrender, to say, "I am a failure. I want more than this." The people who know they are failures yet go toward God don't have any need for someone to tell them it's really not that bad. You have nothing to offer them, if you need them more than they need your message. Folks might be grateful you don't despise them, but they'll also know you don't love them enough to tell them the truth.

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