The group Casting Crowns has a song that I find disturbing yet powerful. “Jesus, Friend of Sinners,” has words that literally cut me to the heart. I often think about the reality Jesus, how that we, His followers do as much to de-christianize our world as to convert it. A portion of the lyrics especially stand out to me:
Jesus friend of sinners the truth’s become so hard to see, The world is on its way to you, but they’re tripping over me, Always looking around but never looking up I’m so double minded, A plank-eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided
O Jesus, friend of sinners, open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers, Let our hearts be led by mercy, help us reach with open hearts and open doors. Jesus friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours.
The words may mean nothing to you, they may not touch many who follow Christ. But they really need to be heard, and pondered. I can see how I have been acusing toward people who claim to know Christ, but their lifestyle shows otherwise. It irks me to see these people bring reproach on Christ’s name, I mean, they couldn’t possibly Christians in anything but name. Maybe they think becoming a christian has nothing to do with personal decision, but babtism at birth. And as I type these words, you see my dilemma, I am expressing my thoughts in judgment against people who claim they are Christian. Who do I think I am?
Are my eyes on Christ? No they’re busy watching you. Like the line from the movie, “Mr. Mom,” ‘you’re doing it wrong!’ The whole time my finger is aimed at you and your shortcomings, I’m committing sin by accusations directed at you. You and I who follow Jesus, can become a loaded weapon with having a wee bit of biblical knowledge, and a shallow relationship with Christ. How pititful.
The deeper we look into the eyes of Jesus, the closer our relationship becomes, and the people we tend to point at are seen through His eyes, broken, confused, and needing Him. We can stay in this warped frame of religious thinking, like modern day pharisees, or we can throw off our traditional beliefs, and realize our low estate without Jesus. In Luke 18, Jesus tells a parable about a Pharisee and a sinner tax collector. Both went up to the temple to pray. The Pharisee, Mr Religion, prays like this:
“Lord, I thank you that I’m not like other men, extorting, unjust, adulterers, or even as the tax collector”….I fast twice per week, pay tithes on all of my possesions.”
The tax collector prayed in this manner: He prayed and would not as much s lift his eyes toward heaven, but beat his chest and said, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner!”
Jesus went on to say that this “sinner” went home justified to God, not the other. “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and everyone who humbles himself will be exalted.”
If we are not broken hearted over those around us, we should begin to look to God in humility, and in repentance, until we are touching His very heart, that IS broken for the lost ones around us. He loves that person we want to criticize, as much as He loves you. He died for everyone, not just me. For me, I want to unload the baggage of pride, and the habit of scorn directed at the those Christ died for. With this in mind, we can spend our time getting fixed, not trying to fix others.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith