“For God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved”
One of my favorite songs is “Jesus Friend of Sinners” by Casting Crowns. This song does an amazing job of comparing the human’s spirit of condemnation versus God’s spirit of love. Every time I hear it, it makes me strive to have the same love and compassion for unbelievers Jesus had. The first verse says,
Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away,
We cut down people in your name, but the sword was never ours to swing.
Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth’s become so hard to see,
The world is on their way to You, but their tripping over me.
Always looking around but never looking up, I’m so double minded,
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided.
Too often, instead of having the same love for unbelievers Jesus did, we have a spirit of condemnation. We stay as far away from them, afraid that their “unrighteous” lives might somehow make us unholy. But if you look at Jesus’ life, He did not shun the unbelievers. No, He spent His whole life among them. Now, He didn’t participate in what they did, but He did show them love, not condemnation. When we have a spirit of pride, we become a stumbling block instead of a witness. Love convicts, but judging condemns. Only when we let go of our condemnation and love the unbelievers are we truly showing them what Christ’s love looks like.
The second verse says:
Jesus, friend of sinners, the one who is writing in the sand,
Make the righteous turn away, and the stones fall from their hands.
Help us to remember, that we are all the least of thieves,
Let the memory of your mercy bring Your people to their knees.
Nobody knows what we’re for only what we’re against when we judge the wounded.
What if we put down our signs, crossed over the line and love like you did?
When the Pharisees were wanting to stone a woman who had been caught committing adultery, Jesus looked at them and said, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (John 8:1-11). Jesus showed the Pharisees that they had no authority to judge her because they too were sinners. It is the same with us. We should have the same mercy for those around us that Jesus had for us. He has given us so much more mercy and grace than we deserve. The least we can do is to share what God has so freely given us with others.
The chorus says:
Jesus, friend of sinners,
open our eyes to the world and the end of our pointing fingers,
Let our hearts be led by mercy,
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors,
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break out hearts for what breaks yours.
Jesus spent His life on earth loving sinners. He ate with the tax collectors. He healed the unbelievers. He died for those who blasphemed and spoke against Him. Instead of keeping His distance and looking down on them full of condemnation the way some Christians do today, He loved them with His everlasting love. The same love that saved us from the punishment we deserve. And in return, Jesus asks us to share the love He has given us with the people in our lives- both Christian and non-Christian. He asks us to “let our hearts be led by mercy.” To be truly sorrowful over the things that make Him sad. To see everyone around us the way He sees them: His own precious children. I pray that every one of us would abandon our pride and condemnation and love unbelievers the way Jesus did.