It took me a while to figure out the words for this, and even now, I don’t have the “right” words, but I’m going to let this one go how the Spirit of God leads me.
As many people who know me are aware, I don’t spend time with the most reputable people. While they have successful jobs and wonderful relationships with one another and their significant others, they are not the kind of people most people would want to spend time with.
They are arrogant, self-centered, overbearing, proud, cocky men and women. They are drunkards, partakers of drugs, sexually immoral and promiscuous. They curse, they lie, they make and break promises. They are a crazy group of people that I see on a weekly or semi-weekly basis.
They are my friends. I love them dearly.
Right now you’re asking yourself, “Why does he spend time with them? What about the gospel of Christ?”
That is where the gospel of Christ lies. God has chosen the foolish and the unlikely to carry the message to the world.
And have you never read of the people with whom Jesus spent His time. They were tax collectors (the worst type of people in His world and ours), prostitutes, sinners, Romans, Samaritans, Zealots (passionate believers known to murder for their cause), and drunkards. I’m sure many of them had their own vulgarities that the Pharisees found offensive, but Jesus tolerated. And why?
Because He loved them. And today, He loves my little band of ruffians. He loves that crew the thumbs their nose at Him day in and day out. That is why I stay.
Granted, I make sure that His message and my witness is not damaged by my association with them. I share Christ when I am able, and I have slowly changed my lifestyle to reflect that of Christ and not of the world.
So, it’s okay to spend time with those whom the Pharisees of this world deem “unclean”. Remember, Jesus loves the outcasts. He loves the ones this world loves to hate.
However, be careful that your association with them does not cause you to leave Christ. For as Paul said, quoting from a popular work of his time, “Bad company corrupts good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)
Don’t forget, Jesus was a friend of sinners, forgetting and forgiving the things that divide them and loving them. So should you, for you were once a desperate sinner, separated from God in your darkness, but He reached across the void and forgave and loved you, and still loves you.
Do the same to the outcasts, the sinners, the leper and the lame.
“You died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet.”