More Important Than Reputation
Written by: Krissie Stempuzis-Wendel
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Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?”
- Matthew 9:10-11 NLT
My goodness, the Pharisees sure don’t sugar coat things do they? In one breath they hurl two insults that let us know what they think of everyone at the dinner table. They are so quick to judge, accuse, and find fault in others. Especially Jesus and His followers.
I’m going to be honest. I see the Pharisee in me more often than not. I too can be so quick to judge, accuse, and find fault in others. And the more I do that, the less I live the Gospel. And the less I live the Gospel, the less I share the Gospel with the people that so desperately need to hear it like I did, like I still do. I have to check myself on the daily and adjust my thoughts, words, and actions. This passage of Scripture always helps me to do just that.
“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.” - Matthew 7:1-5 MSG
Every time I read this verse I’m reminded that being a Jesus follower doesn’t make me better than others or exempt me from sin. It reminds me that I need Jesus just as much today as I did yesterday. It’s a humbling reminder that my heart needs every day, all day. And it helps me surrender my self-righteous tendencies at the table where Jesus met me.
Another verse that humbles me is found in Matthew 9:12-13 (NLT). This is Jesus’ response to the Pharisees’ insults: “When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.”
Whether Jesus followers or not, while inhabiting this earth as humans we will always be chronically sick with the virus called sin. A relationship with God is our only cure. It’s not a four-week prescription we can take to get better. It’s an ongoing remedy we’ll need until we arrive in Heaven.
But sisters, don’t let your ongoing need of a doctor (Jesus) discourage you from sharing Him with others. Share about His faithfulness in your life. How He rescues you from the shackles and consequences of sin. His is a life-changing message that needs to be heard by a world that’s full of hurting and shackled people. Jesus dined at a table with sinners because their salvation was more important than His reputation. What if we cared more about people's salvation than our own reputation too?
In John 13:34-35 (NLT) Jesus tells His disciples; “So now I am giving you a new command: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
There’s no fine print. Jesus loves unconditionally. As Jesus followers, so must we.
Let’s be women that love unconditionally. Women that can go confidently and with humility sit at the table with sinners and share Jesus with them because that's where Jesus meets us too.
1. What sin do you need to surrender to God so that you can go dine at the table with sinners and without hesitation share Jesus with them?
2. What are 3 things you can do daily to better love others unconditionally like Jesus does?
Dear Jesus, thank You for being the purest example of unconditional love. Thank You for meeting me at the sinners’ table and making that love available to me. Jesus, please help me to have an ongoing and intentional relationship with You. Please humble me when I need it and help me to be fearless in sharing Your Gospel message with others. In Your name I pray, Amen.
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