'Here is... a friend of tax collectors and sinners.' Matthew 11:19 NIV
Jesus went directly against the grain of society. Many saw him as a dangerous rebel, associating with those they considered low-lives and criminals, but the reality is that people criticised him because he dared to love and forgive those who society had written off.
In one instance, Jesus interacted with a woman who had been caught cheating on her husband. His final words to her were, 'Go now, and leave your life of sin' (John 8:11 NIV). He challenged her to change, but only after showing her real love. Another time, Jesus and the disciples were sharing a meal with tax-collectors. The religious leaders asked, 'Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners' (Luke 5:30 NIV)? Jesus replied: 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance' (Luke 5:31-32 NIV).
If we could fix and clean ourselves up before coming to God, then we wouldn't need him. He came to us with open arms before we were his, and we're called to do the same for those around us. He knew that the most effective way to show others how to live God's best life is to meet them where they're at, and build real connection with them. We should see our non-Christian friends as people to be invested in, not projects to be fixed.
So what now? Message a friend who wouldn't call themselves a Christian. Make plans to do something fun with them this week, 'just because'.
Soulfood: Ezek 5-9 Matt 21:12-17 Ps 119:169-176 Pro 19:9-10,