More Questions

Since the congregation has asked so many good questions, I’m covering some of them in my mid-week blog.

Question of the Day: How does the Christian reconcile staying away from those who could influence you wrongly by their habits/actions and accepting them when they are around you?

As always, I look first to Jesus to see what he did in these situations. The most religious people of his day called Jesus a glutton, drunkard and a friend of tax collectors and sinners (Matthew 11:19).


Because he hung out with people that the highly religious would never dream of spending time with.

Rabbis held widespread respect in Jewish society because of their strict adherence to the law. In their high position, they made it a point not to associate with anyone who could be considered a sinner.

Jesus chose a different path.

He actively sought out those whom society deemed unworthy because of their habits or actions. When Matthew (a hated tax collector) invited Jesus over to dinner to meet his friends, Jesus happily accepted. When others forced lepers to live in their own communities far away from normal society, Jesus touched their diseased sin and welcomed them.

Not only was Jesus willing to meet with “sinners,” he actively sought them out. Which is good, because all of us reading this today would fall into that category.

Back to our question: obviously, you and I are not Jesus. But our goal is to become like him. To follow in his footsteps. To be shaped by his teaching.

Therefore, we should not “stay away” from those who live and think differently than us. We must actively seek them out. In doing so, we can represent the presence of Christ to them.

There is a caveat…

Some of us struggle with specific challenges that may preclude us from being around certain groups. For example, if you have struggled with alcohol abuse, you should probably not minister to people in a bar. Understand your own limitations and temptations.

But for the most part, as followers of Christ, we should not avoid any group of people. If most of your friends are people from church, consider expanding your circle. Who can you invite for dinner that you may normally avoid?

Let’s make this our guiding story for this week:

While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
—Mark 2:15-17

This Sunday I’m back from my trip to Colorado and will be preaching on another tough question: Why did Jesus have to die on the cross? Talk about foundational!

And our own Maggie McCrostie will be singing at both services.

See you on Sunday!

—Pastor David

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