Many times we Christians argue over how to love others, whether to judge others, and how to speak truth in love. I’d like to suggest that it’s not a black and white issue. Jesus interacted with three distinctly different groups of people in three distinctly different ways. And His is the model we should use to define a Christian lifestyle.
While looking into these three different groups of people, it’s also interesting to examine yourself and see which group we each fall into. I’ll challenge you to think of this along with me.
Here are the three different groups:
- Sinners who lived a life of sin
- Sinners who were pridefully religious and rigid hypocrites
- Sinners who were his friends and followers
Because these people still exist, Jesus’ models of how to approach them are still relevant.
These are people who think they already know it all and so look down on everyone who isn’t reaching their standards. They are legalistic and show little compassion, grace or love to others.
Luke 6:6-11 talks about Jesus healing a man on the Sabbath. The religious leaders got angry with Jesus for breaking one of their religious standards, even though healing is a good thing.
So how did Jesus respond?
He corrected them strongly; in essence, when we claim the name of Christ (Christian), but don’t live it, we’re lying about who we are AND who God is. But His correction was motivated by love. He didn’t get angry because He hated them or was prideful; He was angry because they were a bad example of who God is.
How do we respond?
Know what the Bible says about how to treat “sinners” (1 Cor 5:12-13), and know where these people are wrong. But we have to make sure we’re not being prideful or looking down on them, because then, we’re no better than them.
Confront them with what the Bible says about how Jesus loved others, and how they’re out of line.
So how do you respond to the religious people in your life? Are you one of the “religious”? While I strive to be in the third group of people, I sometimes have a tendency to fall into this one – the most hated category of the three!
Part 2 Preview: The Sinner
We’re all sinners, but for the purpose of this series, these are people who are actively living a lifestyle of sin – they don’t have a relationship with Jesus and live in direct opposition to Him. We all know Jesus hung out with the lowest of the low, but is that really what we’re supposed to do?
From a message I gave at Elevate.