Let’s be truthful … how we see someone often determine who we see and subsequently how we treat and respond to them. Too often when we see someone who does not walk and squawk like we do, we shy away from them, we ignore them … we may even outright see them as someone to be avoided … maybe even an enemy.
But do we see their true condition? their need?
Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:10-14 (NASB)
Do we see people’s sin for the sickness it truly is? Or do we see with the eyes of a Pharisee?
Have we forgotten that Jesus’ target audience is the lost … the sinner?
“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10 (NASB)
My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20 (NASB)
Do we see our struggle against the sinners of this world? Or against the the dark spiritual forces of wickedness that champion sin and hold them captive?
Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 (NASB)
Do we realize that sinners have been stalked, ensnared and are in the midst of being devoured by our adversary the devil?
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 (NASB)
The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:24-26 (NASB)
Have we forgotten that God has reconciled us to Himself through Christ Jesus? Furthermore, have we also forgotten that we are all ministers of reconciliation?
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 (NASB)
Have we forgotten how patient God was in our reconciliation? Are we equally as patient and hopeful? Or we impatient and disappointed?
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 (NASB)
Have we forgotten that we were once foolish and so easily deceived?
For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. Titus 3:3 (NASB)
Have we forgotten we were once held in bondage to the world?
So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. Galatians 4:3 (NASB)
Have we forgotten that we too were once sons of disobedience?
For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. Colossians 3:6-7 (NASB)
Have we forgotten that in our foolishness we were unable to save ourselves? Have we forgotten that someone came to our rescue?
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 1 Colossians 13:14 (NASB)
Have we forgotten to show the mercy we have been shown?
For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. Romans 11:30-31 (NASB)
Do we not realize that we were enemies to God when Jesus was saving us on the cross?
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Romans 5:10 (NASB)
Are we truly obedient to these words of Jesus?
“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44 (NASB)
“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28 (NASB)
Truth be known … believers being persecuted find themselves in a time and place among people that no outreach program will ever touch … and in the midst of that persecution … they don’t need to see defense attorneys … nor do they need to see prosecution attorneys … they need to see love … they need to see Jesus!
Note these final words of Stephen as he is being stoned to death …
When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul. They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Acts 7:58-60 (NASB)
And Jesus asks nothing of His followers, He did not expect from Himself …
When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:33-34 (NASB)
Do I see who and how Jesus see?
Truthfully … far from it …
Oh Lord, forgive me! Give me Your eyes … Your heart of love and compassion … the ability to see who and how you see … may your mission of reconciliation IN and THRU me be accomplished to those you have places in my sphere of influence!!!