Jesus, (Not a) Friend of Sinners?

Though our experience in church might incline us to think so, this is not how Jesus operated. Jesus intentionally, strategically, and lovingly, spent time with sinners. If we’re going to walk in the way of Jesus, i.e., be Christians, we’ll need to do the same.

The hard part with this is that our current culture thinks there is only two options. The first is what we see in this video, the Jesus, or by extension, the church, that goes around nailing each and every person for their sins. The other option is acting as if there is no sin, as if what has traditionally been called sin, is merely a matter of personal practice or normal human imperfection. The Christian tradition holds that there is another option: Sin is destructive. Sin is unhealthy. Sin separates us from God and others. Even more, we’re all implicated in it, not merely as innocent bystanders or as tragic sufferers from the sin of others, but as actual sinners. In the context of loving Christian community – and that context is essential! – the identification of sin as sin functions as a physician’s identification of a sickness. Identification is a first step toward deliverance.

If we’re going to be Christians, we must be friends of sinners. We must spend time with them. Unless we’re blind or self-deceptive Pollyannas, we’ll know that our friends are (like us) sinners. But we’ll be their friends nonetheless.

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