Love for the Outcasts
Updated: Apr 29, 2019
One of the things that I love most about Jesus is that He was kind of a rebel. When others scoffed that He couldn’t travel there or shouldn’t associate with them, He did it anyway. Lepers. Prostitutes. Thieves. Liars. Cheats. Invalids. Outcasts. The Poor. People who were shunned and rejected from society were loved and embraced by Jesus. He ruffled judgmental, haughty feathers regularly because He lived to please God, not to please humans by going with the grain.
Some of the harshest critics of Jesus’s unapologetic love for all people ironically came from the religious elite at the time. The ones who declared themselves the most knowledgeable, the most worthy, the most divine, the most favored by God. The very religious leaders and high priests who orchestrated and championed the Son of God’s arrest, torture, crucifixion, and death.
Two-thousand years later, the disdain for them still echoes.
Entire groups of people are still marginalized without being known, perhaps due to the belief that if their sins are highlighted, the whistle-blowers will earn a personal batch of divine brownie points.
But we are not saved by our performance, we are saved by God’s grace. It cannot be earned. It can only be given.
God is a capable judge who looks at the person's heart, who does not need prosecution lawyers on His behalf.
What he does require is an army of loving disciples, sharing the good news about Jesus. He is aware that perfection has only walked the earth once, in the form of His son. Every single other person —including me, including you—falls short of living a sinless life. But through humans assuming the voice of God through booming megaphones or catty conversations, those who are deemed too stained are excluded and exiled.
I’ve heard several Christians completely dismiss the entire LGBTQ community as those people, a group whose teenage victims of bullying, bigotry and intolerance are 5 times more likely to commit suicide than straight teens.
I can only imagine Jesus’s sorrow over how many people didn’t think themselves worthy enough to know Him before they ever had the chance.
To some, I am one of those people because I choose to love and accept my LGBTQ brothers and sisters, not because I am tainted by a loose society, but because I choose to follow God's commandment to love my neighbor. This is not a polite suggestion or flimsy recommendation that contains an asterisk describing what type of neighbor. It is a commandment, emphasized again straight from the mouth of Jesus.
To others, we are those people to because of our religion. Or our nationality. Skin color. Gender. Political party. Socioeconomic status. Preferences of dogs over cats.
The truth is, we are all one of those people to someone else in the world.
If you feel you are too sinful, know that you are not alone. If you feel shunned or rejected, He has cried your same tears and has walked your path. If you feel despair, He has felt your sorrow and understands your pain. If you feel forgotten, He sees you and wants to know you. You are worthy. You are cherished. You are loved.