I walked through a town filled with people of alternate lifestyles. My initial surprise at this blatant disregard for society's norm compromised my good graces. As I engaged people in light conversation, something odd began to stir in my spirit. I liked them. They were real people, creations of my God.
I yearned for them to experience the Christ I loved. Unfortunately, harsh rhetoric by the Christian community (some) built a wall, not a bridge. Jesus displayed love and compassion for people. In the arena of evangelism, may we guard against overzealous ways. We can touch hearts, but God can change them.
In John 8, the Pharisees brought an adulterous woman to Jesus. They wanted to stone her. He began to write something in the dirt. I believe he was listing their sins. When I study this passage, I gain insight into the mind of Christ: "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."
It's easy to overlook our hidden sin and condemn a blatant one. When in reality, the outcome of all sin is the same...death. I wanted to reflect the nature of Christ. He showed love and respect by engaging people, not avoiding those who were different.
Sin doesn't determine who we are, but faith in Jesus will impact who we become. He offers Himself as a sacrifice for our sin. He pursues a relationship with us, showers us with grace, and demonstrates how we should relate to others.
There were many reasons Jesus shouldn't have spoken to the woman at Jacob's well. She was a Samaritan, a woman, and a woman of ill repute. Their differences were stark. Yet He engaged her and offered her Living Water. We can learn a lot from people's reactions to our evangelistic efforts. Astounded by His manner, she embraced His love and was captivated by His truth. Her reaction was to tell everyone about Him.
As I glanced back over the city, I caught a breathtaking site. The most beautiful sunset cast orange, yellow, and pink rays against a darkening blue sky. God's beauty was available for all His creation to behold—as are His gifts of grace and eternal life. Reach out and partake.
(Photo courtesy of office.microsoft.com.)
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