I heard a quote recently that said, “Be like Jesus: Spend enough time with sinners to ruin our reputation with religious people.” Wow. What a bold and blunt charge. But how many times do we hold back our efforts to connect with the “ungodly” just so we don’t disturb our reputation toward our church?
You might be thinking, “What if my pastor sees me at the grocery, talking with someone I ran into? What if he thinks I associate myself with that person?”
I believe it’s easy for us as the Church, to get into a habit of viewing humanity through the eyes of sin instead of through the truth that we were created in God’s image and after His likeness (Gen. 1:26).
Sin has plenty of evangelists today and I want to challenge the church to be famous for befriending anyone and discarding our reputation at any cost. It’s an eye-opening statement and probably the reason you clicked on this article, so how do we do that? Through our own realization that we, the Church, often emphasizes “sin”, rather than seeing humanity through God’s perspective. The truth is, sin never gets rid of the image of God in a person. Sin just makes what God originally designed look ugly, but it only sits on top of who a person is.
Following in Jesus’ Footsteps
Jesus demonstrated this perspective perfectly. His entire life was connected to the broken. He didn’t care what people thought of him because it was never about pleasing people but revealing the nature of God’s intent for humanity. Take the Woman at the well (a despised outcast), Mary Magdalene (an adulteress), or Zacchaeus (the most hated man in Jericho). Each encounter, Jesus met them at their brokenness and identified who they were created to be. And each time, those encounters lead to a moral conscious. They understood their identity out of love instead of fear.
If we want the world to get better, it starts with us – the Church. I challenge you to start dreaming of what kind of world you want your kids to live in and then ask God questions with that in mind.
Seeing with God’s eyes
When we make our perspective on God’s image and likeness, then we begin to see that every human being emphasizes something. There is something good about each person, so begin to ask God, what did you create that person for? What is it that You want people to see? Because when we begin seeing humanity through God’s eyes, it gets easier to simplify good and evil. I believe this is how Jesus hung out with everyone and was a friend to all. He saw the value of who they were meant to be. He never had a “me vs. them” mentality.
A good question to ask yourself is this: Do I find myself getting more distant from people, protecting myself from them? Or do I realize that I need to close these gaps? Because if our Christian theology doesn’t cause us to love humanity more than we need to change our theology. God is Love. And it’s His goodness that leads to repentance (Rom. 2:4).
Friends, our war is never against flesh and blood, but of spiritual warfare in the unseen (Eph. 6:12). So, don’t look down on unbelievers or avoid the dark places in someone’s life. Humanity needs to experience God’s love. We understand our identity. Let’s show the world who they really are.
After His Likeness,
5 things we get by serving others
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