One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to come to his home for a meal, so Jesus accepted the invitation and sat down to eat. A certain immoral woman heard he was there and brought a beautiful jar filled with expensive perfume. Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.
When the Pharisee who was the host saw what was happening and who the woman was, he said to himself, "This proves that Jesus is no prophet. If God had really sent him, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!"
Then Jesus spoke up and answered his thoughts. "Simon," he said to the Pharisee, "I have something to say to you."
"All right, Teacher," Simon replied, "go ahead."
Then Jesus told him this story: "A man loaned money to two people–five hundred pieces of silver to one and fifty pieces to the other. But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, cancelling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?"
Simon answered, "I suppose the one for whom he cancelled the larger debt."
"That’s right," Jesus said. Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t give me a kiss of greeting, but she has kissed my feet again and again from the time I first came in. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. I tell you, her sins–and they are many–have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love." Then Jesus said to the woman, "Your sins are forgiven."
The men at the table said among themselves, "Who does this man think he is, going around forgiving sins?"
And Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace." Luke 7:36-50
Many churches today miss it. Many of us have become like Simon. God brings people like this prostitute into our churches and we stand in judgement and say; "Who let that person in the door? Could we get some ushers to escort them out or a least sit them in a place where they are not going to be so noticeable." We have become blind. Is it no wonder many churches have trouble bringing in the lost when the lost see that type of attitude?
I am tired of seeing pictures so called believers carrying signs saying "God hates queers" or "Kill the fags". Do you really understand what you are doing? Do you understand that you might be the one destined for judgement because the hatred you carry.
What if two hurting men entered into your church holding hands. Are you going to stop them at the door and tell them they are not allowed in? If so you have just lost two souls that could have heard the word and been set free, but now they will probably never look to Christ again because if that’s the way His children are then we don’t want anything to do with them.
What if a prostitute with needle marks up and down her arms, hardly dressed at all, staggers into your church and sits in your seat? Are you going to have the usher toss her out? I’ve seen it happen. Not with a prostitute. In a church I used to attend some people would get really upset if they saw somebody form outside the church sitting in their seat. More than a few times I saw those new people leave the church never to return.
As children of Christ we are to be accepting of everyone. How dare we turn anyone away. We are not to be accepting of their lifestyle. But we have to let God take care of that. He is the one who will bring conviction and change if the person is sincere.
In Pastor Jim Cymbala’s book "Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire" He talks about an encounter he had one day after a service. Pastor Cymbala is the pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle, home to the world famous choir. As he was greeting people bumped into what he thought was a very attractive woman. He said excuse me and they answered back in a man’s voice. It was a transvestite who went by the name of Sarah. It turned out his real name was Ricardo and he was responsible for turning a lot of young kids on to crack cocaine and prostitution.
Ricardo’s lifestyle was beginning to get to him. Imagine hustling most of the night just to make the $400 to $500 needed for your addiction, falling asleep under a bridge and then searching garbage cans for food in the morning. He was looking for hope.
Now they could have turned Ricardo away, but they let him keep coming into the services. Ricardo sat in the meetings, and it dawned on him that maybe he could be different. This Jesus could actually set him free from crack. Perhaps this Jesus could even change him into a true man, not this half-half person he assumed was his nature. He had been teased from childhood about being effeminate. His mother had pleaded with him to forsake homosexuality, and he had tried, to no avail. His will power had failed him countless times.
But the idea that God was stronger, that God could in fact change him on the inside…. that was a new thought. Ricardo kept listening, and after about a month, he gave his heart to the Lord. It was not a dramatic conversion. But it became real on the inside.
God changed Ricardo and he embraced who God created him to be. A man. He went on to marry a beautiful woman named Betty. But he was dying of aids. A few years later as he was dying he spoke to Pastor Cymbala and said "I will never forget how you loved me and took me in. Thank-you so much!
Brooklyn Tabernacle is not ashamed of who they let into their church. They welcome them with open arms of love. And because of that lives are changed and given a new hope.
People are looking for hope. Are you willing to do all it takes to show them there is a hope? You are an ambassador for Christ. Don’t stand in judgement but let Christ in you shine for all to see. Be an example of His love. You do the loving and leave the changing to Him.
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