I recently viewed a post on social media where a woman was asking for prayer for her and husband who are counseling a couple with a deviant lifestyle that ran counter to Biblical principles. What was interesting is how many people suggested blasting them with how wrong were and how few expressed offering love and grace.
It made me consider how Jesus responded to people. He ate with sinners even prostitutes and tax collectors which were considered the lowest of the low in that day. Respectable people would not be seen with them let alone sit down and eat a meal with them. Jesus had words of healing, hope and encouragement for the lost. He built up relationships with them and did not blast them with condemnation. He compassionately saw their needs and hurts and He longed to gather them up in his arms like a mother hen with its chicks. He was the Good Shepherd who left the 99 in the sheep pen to go and search for the one that was lost to lovingly carry it home.
Jesus behaved much differently with the hypocritical, religious leaders of His day. He confronted them and called them out on their behavior and heart attitudes. He called them a brood of vipers and white washed tombs. He saw their pride and self sufficiency and their putting unbearable loads on the people. He reminds them a Doctor doesn’t come to the well but the sick and needy.
How often do I, do we, come across judgmental or harsh with those who need Jesus Christ? How often do our words and actions drive them away from our loving, merciful Christ and the gospel? Or do we break through barriers by showing mercy, compassion and kindness and be a winsome witness to the truth of Christ in you, the hope of glory? I was reminded of what I once heard a pastor say, “We can not expect the lost to live like believers. But we should encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ to live for him.”
Today our world is hurting and so easily offended. How much more need is there now, more than ever, for Christ’s people to be peaceable, full of love, compassion, mercy and grace. Living that way in stark contrast to the world makes us a powerful and winsome witness of the glorious grace of Jesus within us. Let’s be that kind of salt and light.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.
17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
– Romans 12:15-18
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35