...our God will make you worthy of the life to which He called you. (Paul, writing in 2 Thessalonians 1:11b)
9 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector's booth.
"Follow me and be my disciple," Jesus said to him.
So Matthew got up and followed him.
Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests,
along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners.
11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples,
"Why does your teacher eat with such scum?"
12 When Jesus heard this, he said,
"Healthy people don't need a doctor—sick people do."
13 Then he added,
go and learn the meaning of this Scripture:
'I want you to show mercy,
not offer sacrifices.'
For I have come to call not those who think they
but those who know they are sinners."
How many of us do as Jesus did - hanging out with people that the "holy" people of the day considered the scum of the earth?
Obviously, Jesus possessed such a kind & loving spirit that these "scum of the earth" actually wanted to be around Him.
How many of us are like Jesus in that respect?
Not many of us are, I would say.
So how do we become like Him in that way?
If we see them as He sees them.
Jesus knew people through & through.
He knew them for all they were, & for all they were not.
He saw each person as a valuable & delightful creation.
My predecessor in the very first church I ever served (Central UMC, Fitzgerald, GA) was a lady named Annabelle Cheeseman.
She told me something that I've tried to remember my whole life...
"No one is ever that obnoxious on purpose"
Iow, there's ALWAYS a reason why people are the way they are - and they are seldom that way for the reasons we think.
we ever take the time to listen to people & find out the "why" of
their life, actions, & thinking, we will know & understand the
real person underneath all the stuff we see & hear coming from them.
And ya know, Annabelle said that to me probably close to 40 years ago.
And it's just as true today as it was then.