What a prison self consciousness can be. When I think of those “would be” Christians if they could just find someone to express the love of God and acceptance to them. In Luke 7, we read the story of a self-righteous Pharisee who invites Jesus to dinner and an encounter with a prostitute. (Odd mix I know) but it is kind of like Christians in the world with judgmental spirits or worse how sinners are made to feel (if) or when they walk into the church building. You have heard people say, “Well if I went to church the ceiling would fall in. ha, ha, ha.” No, that’s not funny and yes it is how many “really” feel. Swindoll helps us understand the prostitute’s inner feelings of self consciousness when he writes: “She survives on her looks…A look of leer, a scowl, a wink, a sneer. All sorts of looks –except one of love. She is a prostitute. How many times her heart has ached to be wanted for more than one night? To be valued instead of evaluated? To be prized instead of priced?” What guts and courage it must have taken for this woman to seek out Jesus at a self-righteous Pharisees house – but she did. And what did she find? Something she expected, a judgmental Pharisee. And something she didn’t expect, the love, acceptance and forgiveness of a savior that changed her life. I wonder how many would be Christians are walking around us every day knowing what they can expect from the Christians they know – I wonder how many would become Christians if they ran into the love, acceptance and offer of forgiveness that comes through the Christ in us? I’m not talking about condoning sin and neither was Jesus – I’m talking about loving sinners and setting them free just like Jesus: “Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Lk 7:48-50) How many “would bees” will become Christians because they met you?
Dr. William Burnham is pastor of Point of Grace Church in Covington. He can be reached at email@example.com.