Whispersfrommyheart's Blog

A Grateful Leper

Posted on: September 11, 2012

“Jesus, Friend of sinners, open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers. Let our hearts be, led by mercy, let us reach with open hearts and open doors. Oh, Jesus, Friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours.”

Some of you recognized the first stanza of the newest hit by Casting Crowns. The song, “Jesus, Friend of Sinners” continues to climb the CCM charts every week. If you haven’t listened to that song yet, you need to. It is fantastic!

“Jesus, Friend of Sinners,” evokes so many emotions in me. Especially these two lines: “You died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at your feet.” It resonates with my own spirit.

I am that grateful leper sitting at the feet of Jesus.

When I think about the church, immediately I think of the line that separates a good number of people over divisive issues, such as traditional marriage. On both sides of the divide, people are hurling accusations and slinging mud. What troubles me most, are those in the midst of this moral controversy who claim the name of Christ. They make a stand on moral principles and biblical ethics, only to verbally bash and smash their opponent. They quote scripture in one breath and condemn in the next. But, what horrifies me the most, what tears at my heart more than anything else, is when they hold themselves up with moral and spiritual purity.  They profess to be Christians; blood bought born-again, followers of Jesus Christ.

But, are they really?

They act as though they speak for God himself.

But do they?

Just as the song states, Jesus Christ came for sinners. All we have to do is open his word to find that Jesus ate with sinners and tax collectors. Tax collectors, especially, were a loathsome crew. They were Israelites that aligned themselves with the Roman Empire to collect a tax imposed by Caesar. The Israelites hated the oppression of the Roman government, so, to have one of their “brothers” help a godless nation made their blood boil. But, the tax collectors also added to burden by adding to the amount each Israelite had to pay. Making it difficult for an Israelite to afford to live. In the story about Nicodemus, the tax collector who had to climb a tree to see Jesus, he exclaimed, “If I have cheated anyone, I will pay them back four fold.” (John 3:1-21)

Nicodemus understood what he used to be, and he was not going to let his past to influence his future.

I think we forget the past from where we came.

Those of us who claim the name of Christ once were sinners too. We, too, were once lost in what could be considered an abomination to God. We blasphemed his name and his spirit by rejecting Jesus outright. We, too, were once foul-mouthed, arrogant, sinners who laughed in the face of God. We did it without fear of retribution, and we gladly continued on that path until Jesus opened our eyes to the truth. And, when we first came to Christ, we expected patience from our more mature brothers and sisters. For the most part, that’s exactly what we were given.

So why are we so blind to our own past?

When we deal with others, especially those who are outside of the church, we lack patience. We return slap for slap, and jab for jab. But wait; didn’t Jesus instruct us to “turn the other cheek”? Weren’t we told if someone takes our coat, we are to offer them our coat too? (See Matthew 5:39-41). Yet, for the most part, that is not what is happening.

So-called Christians are getting nasty.

On the Christian based news site, One News Now, I see more hate-filled, arrogant remarks being made by those who profess Jesus. Men and women alike rebuke those who don’t agree with traditional marriage (this seems to be one of the major hot topics). They use scripture to prove their point, and then, to condemn those who are, quite honestly, acting just like a sinner… just like I used to act.

I used to walk the same path sinners walked.

When I look back over my life, and, after a particular rough patch, my choice to walk away from God, I am very aware of things that I did; things I am not proud of. I am guilty of things that cause me great shame. But, just like the Prodigal Son, when he returned from squandering his inheritance in the pig sty, his father restored him back to his original status in the family. God was gracious and forgave me. God also restored me back into the Kingdom of God—just as if I never left.

I can’t forget that.

Even in my dealings with people who are sinners. I must remember that I, too, was once in their shoes. I have no right to situate myself on a pedestal and preach to them while I look down upon the ones for whom Jesus died.

Jesus came for sinners just like me.

There are a few differences between me and those who do not know the LORD. I accepted the work Jesus did on the cross; they have not. I live my life to please God; they live to please themselves. Does that make me better than them? Did Jesus die any harder for me than he did for them? Absolutely not on both counts!

We are all sinners; lepers at his feet.

I, for one, am grateful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses to "A Grateful Leper"

Wow! A word from God to us all. Thank you Cheryl. Keeps saying this – it needs to be said. I too love that song, Jesus Friend Of Sinners, an anointed song for sure. The signs of the times tell us it won’t be long and the fields are ripe for harvest, but before we can be effective harvesters we need to go back to the cross and remember from whence we came. Another song I love is Remind Me by the late Dottie Rambo……lest I ever forget.

We all need the reminder, Deb! I have been reminded of it so much lately!

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