A drunk man entered our church one Sunday morning.
He looked disheveled, was partially unclothed, and spewed obscenities. It was a scary scene to my nine-year-old eyes. And from the looks on the faces of everyone around me, they were frightened too.
After a few terrifying minutes, several men quieted him and escorted him from the sanctuary. For months, I wondered what had become of that man, and I worried that another “unwelcome visitor” might interrupt our services. Many years later, it remains one of the most disturbing experiences I’ve had in church.
In Mark 2, after Jesus called Levi (Matthew) the tax collector to follow Him in ministry, He had dinner at Levi’s house. Other tax collectors and various sinners attended the dinner as well. The Pharisees were critical. “But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with such scum?’” (Mark 2:16). That’s when Jesus made His startling statement: Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.
What would happen if the global revival so many of us long for happened in our local churches? Likely, people who struggle with addictions, prostitution, homelessness, mental illness, and other difficult circumstances would come to our services.
The question is how would we engage with those whose lives and challenges are much different than ours. And would we spend time with them as Jesus did? Hurting people in our communities need Dr. Jesus and His abundant love and grace.
What are some ways you can follow Jesus’ example and welcome others when they come into your church and life?
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