“Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!” Luke 15:1-2 NLT
I am always amazed that 'Tax collectors and notorious sinners' were drawn to Jesus and enjoyed listening to Him. They were intrigued. They wanted to hear what Jesus had to say. He had an ability to make people comfortable with Him, but uncomfortable with their sin. Could they sense His compassion and acceptance? He didn't shun them because others thought they were "hopelessly lost." Jesus' kindness, goodness, and gentleness drew them in.
Do I live a life that draws in the lost, or am I judgmental like the Pharisees? How can I live a life that causes others to feel open to Jesus? How can I live a life where people will be comfortable around me, but uncomfortable with their sin. Am I able to love the lost or am I put off and critical? In the parable that followed this verse, Jesus explains that one life is worth searching for, and He will rejoice when the lost one is found. Do I care enough and have enough compassion to search for the lost?
Lord, sometimes I feel that some people are hopeless. I know that You don't, but sometimes I do. Holy Spirit, help me to love enough and care enough to look past the exterior and see what You see. Help me to love the lost the way You love the lost. Teach me how to live a life that isn't critical, but to walk in kindness, goodness and gentleness. Holy Spirit, it's Your kindness that leads us to repentance. Teach me how to love like You love.
Maureen Matarazzo, Response Team
White Oak Campus