A Diamond in the Rough
When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
One of my favorite types of show to watch on TV is a good makeover, whether it’s a person or a room. I love seeing someone or something go from a hot mess to something amazing and beautiful. It’s particularly fun to see a property that looks like it’s been neglected for 30 years be transformed into a warm, beautiful, functional space. You know, the kind of place that looks like you should just tear it down and forget about it? I love designers who can see past the chipped plaster and broken windows and see the potential of that property. It’s their vision of what it could be and the decision to do what it takes to get it there that changes the property into something useful and pleasing.
I think that is the heart of what following Jesus is about; being made over and being part of helping others be made over so that we are transformed to look more like Jesus. Unfortunately, I think the Body of Christ still struggles in this area. We have difficulty seeing past a person’s broken past to see what God-given potential lies within them. It’s easy to believe in someone if their past is squeaky-clean or they’ve only had a few minor missteps. But what about the person who has used drugs for 30 years and is starving for some hope and healing? What about the person who has a string of broken relationships behind them and can’t seem to get that part of their life straightened out? What about those who have been in prison? Do we look at them with compassion and say to them, “I believe in you! God loves you and wants to do something in and through you; He is not done with you and can still use you in His Kingdom”? Or in our mind have we blown them off as damaged goods? Scripture is full of examples of God using the most broken person with the most checkered past in the greatest way. That person coming into our life and our church may be called to be very great in His Kingdom; they just need you and me to believe in them, encourage them and guide them closer to God so He can do the work in them that needs to be done. Simply put, it is love and faith that changes people, not judgment and condemnation. As Jesus says in this passage, He came to call sinners (which are all of us). He came for the broken so we can be healed and reach our full potential. He came so we can be freed from whatever bondage holds us back, so that we can become everything He created us to be! And it is never too late to become that person. Thank you God that You see past our broken and damaged lives and never give up on us!