The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.”
She sat in my church study, broken and defeated by life. Nothing had seemed to go right. Several failed marriages, legal problems, estrangement from her children were some of the burdens she was carrying. And all she could do was blame herself.
For a long time she had tried to shut her eyes to the pain, the emptiness and meaningless she felt, consoling herself in a life of frantic activity and day to day busyness which the world is always more than ready to provide for that purpose.
Now, she was convinced that God was punishing her. She doubted everything except her own worries, anxieties, fear and hopelessness.
In over 35 of years of ministry I have known many like her. The problems vary, of course, as do the particular circumstances of living. Some have been rich, others of quite modest means. But what they have held in common has been a belief that God has dealt with them purely on the basis of sin and retribution. Perhaps you see something of yourself here; preoccupied with what has been lost, uncertain or even fearful as to God.
Jesus was called “friend of sinners” during His earthly life. The gospels report time and time again of His welcoming into His fellowship those who had lost themsleves in sin. As time went on it was these lost ones who became the greatest witnesses to His love.
When we look at ourselves it is easy to become preoccupied with what has been lost. When God looks at you through Christ, however, He does not see what was lost, what you have squandered or mishandled. He sees only His child to whom He freely gives love and forgiveness in Christ. This is the heart of the Gospel.
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”