Lately God humbled me by reminding me I was unsaved once. He urged me to recall what life was like BC—before Christ.
Not long ago a man who has not yet received Jesus as Savior lied to me repeatedly and showed little remorse when confronted. I felt angry and compelled to deliver a lecture about lying. A part of me wanted him out of my life until he was ready to get right with God and improve his behavior.
Verses from the Bible that speak of how much God hates lying came to mind. I’ll show him those verses, I thought. Instead God wanted to show them to me.
I remembered lying being mentioned two different times. But what I had forgotten was what was at the top of the list of things God hates—“haughty eyes.” Here is how those verses read:
There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. Proverbs 6:16-10 NIV 1984
God revealed to me I continue to have a problem with arrogance toward the unsaved—especially when they sin against me. Once again He’s had to make it clear that any good thing in my life is because of His grace and nothing that is good in me. If not for God, I would be sinning in big ways against many people. Even with Him, I still slip into treating people badly.
When I have this proud, “I’m-better-than-you” attitude, I tend to step back from the unsaved as I look down at them.
Jesus didn’t do that.
In fact, the Bible says this:
While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick”… Matthew 9:10-13
This is how a friend put it in a blog she wrote recently: “I read in Scripture of a God who came to earth to walk among men to show the love He had to offer. He chose to mingle with the unlovables, the social outcasts of His day. He didn’t agree with the lifestyles or the religious fanaticisms, but He loved them anyway. Because He loved them where they were at, many were drawn to Him.”
That’s my struggle—to love people where they’re at. Too often I expect unsaved people to behave better—even to act Christlike.
I pray often that people be drawn closer to God, but lately I’ve discovered anew that I can be the stumbling block that keeps them away.
Oh for grace to love others extravagantly—the way Jesus loves me.
To hear more about the subject, “Jesus, Friend of Sinners,” listen to my radio show, “Hearts Set Free with Elaine” on Saturday, September 29, 2012 at 5:30pm EST. Go to www.wtis1110.com and press “Listen Live.” For a song that speaks this message in a wonderful way, go to the following link to listen to “Jesus, Friend of Sinners” by Casting Crowns. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipwEtvWL_3c