Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth.”Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. 15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the “sinners” and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” 17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
I am breaking from my typical blog post to vent a little. I am tired of being told by certain public figures that I am not a Christian because of I have more liberal political viewpoints. I am tired of reading stories after stories of bigoted and narrow minded “Christians” (judgement recognized) denigrating others because they are of another faith, or are sexually active singles (gay or straight), or are women who want equality, or are hardworking Americans who are asking for jobs that pay a reasonable wage and provide health insurance.
When did we lose sight of the Jesus who ate with tax collectors and sinners. Not because he wanted to shame them or even change them, but because he recognized that they were ignored. He loved them. Through his love, he turned their hearts to God. He did not tell Zaccheus (Luke 19:1-10) that he would only be able to reach (pun intended) God if he gave up his job. No, all he said was that he would eat with him. Zaccheus changed himself because for once someone actually looked at him.
I may be liberal but I am also evangelical! I want to win souls for God just like any other Christian. But I do not believe Jesus ever told us to do that by making someone else believe or behave the way I think is proper. I believe Jesus taught us to pray, love and listen. Salvation has nothing to do with contraception, baptism, or any other silly American standard. Salvation has to do with having a heart for God and spreading that love by following the example of Jesus and truly loving others for who they are, not who we want them to be!