We need to be more gentle

Pastor Ken Wilson from the Ann Arbor, Michigan, Vineyard gets it …

       How did we, the friends of the friend of sinners get to this place?  Jesus was known as the friend of sinners.  He took a lot of guff for being the friend of sinners.  These “sinners” were a social class, not simply a theological category.  They were people on the outside of Israel’s accepted circle for a host of reasons. They were not mobsters or murderers or notorious offenders.  (You notice that “tax collectors” and “prostitutes” were often given a distinct designation alongside “sinners” in the gospels.)   Jesus so identified with “sinners” as to bring upon himself the judgment of the religiously self-righteous.  He expects us to be the friend of sinners, which means our righteousness has to exceed that of the Pharisees; it has to be a righteousness of pure sermon-on-the-mount love, not a righteousness that depends on harsh condemnations and judgment of others–the “business as usual” approach to sinners.  We need to get our gentle back.

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