I have been having some great discussion on twitter and facebook about this thought and want to be sure my blog does not miss out. This platform allows a bit more thoughtfulness in general. I am finishing up a sermon I am going to deliver this weekend and this thought came to me: would we be willing to lose our “so-called” Christian friends in order to befriend sinners? Understandably, there are some unanswered issues with such a question. But, I believe the question has merit. Let me explain.
First of all, Jesus says that to follow him we must be willing to literally face execution (take up your cross Matthew 16:24) and Jesus goes as far to remind us that we might lose all our family and if we are not ready for that then we are not ready to follow him. (Luke 14:26). He says if you do not “hate” them, then you cannot be his disciple.
My question has to do with willingness. If losing our life is the aim of following Jesus, do we have it in us to walk away from those Jesus might want us to walk away from? Or, by going to Jesus it is clear there will be people who will walk away from us.
Now, please understand that when I say “Christian” you can put “religious” or whatever in that slot. The issue is that Jesus is a “friend of sinners” (Matthew 11:19) and we are to be like Jesus. Those who claim to follow Christ would be friends of sinners, too. Right?
We live in our Christian bubble, nod at the same phrases, have our own music and love that our kids are safe in a youth group that hopefully has more Christian kids than not. However, this is what we should be willing to lose. We should be willing to lose our comfort for the cross of befriending those who do not know Jesus yet. Our church circle must be a place where we embrace those people who the religious hate.
I am excited about being able to speak this weekend at Sunridge and hope you can dialog and wrestle with me about some of the things Jesus said and the questions that come from that.