I listen to my iPod most mornings as I get ready for work.  (Jim would say I listen to my iPod loudly.)  My playlist is a picture of my personality – mostly Christian with a sprinkling of 70’s and 80’s pop and country.  Eclectic is the most accurate descriptor.  I love music and I love great lyrics.

I had just listened to one of my favorite Stevie Wonder songs and then one of my favorite songs from Casting Crowns began to play.   I wrote a blog post about this song once before.  The first time I heard Jesus Friend of Sinners, the lyrics caused me to tear up.  Every now and then a song says exactly what my heart would sing.

The first stanza convicts my heart every time I hear it.  “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 they’re 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.”

I’ve written a lot of blog posts because I’m frustrated and angered by what I see happening in our culture today.  I don’t like a lot of the new laws that give people permission to disobey God’s word and will.  Those that are for those laws don’t mind telling those of us that are against them that we are wrong, intolerant, or even racist.  I am double minded, however, when I am quick to point out the flaws of others, without admitting I harbor the same feelings and emotions as they do.  I slander too, but I do it in the name of Jesus.  I am a “plank eyed saint with dirty hands” if I am separated from the love of Christ.

{source}<iframe style=”float: right; border: 1px solid #000000; background-color: #C0C0C0; padding: 2px; margin: 10px; -moz-border-radius: 3px; -khtml-border-radius: 3px; -webkit-border-radius: 3px; border-radius: 3px;” width=”400″ height=”225″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/BY6VAy9y_iQ?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>{/source}The next verse of the song says, “Jesus, friend of sinners, the one who’s writing in the sand.  Made the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands.  Help us to remember we are all the least of these.  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 lines and loved like you did?”

What are Christians “for?”  What would happen if we spent the majority of our time telling other people how much God loves them?  What if we looked past the sins and into the eyes of the sinner?  What if we saw the potential of people instead of their problems?  Jesus ate with the sinners while the Pharisees stood outside and condemned everyone, including Jesus, who was inside.  Which side of that door would I find most Christians today?  Jesus saw everyone as a potential child of God.  So should we.

The last verse of the song is, “You love every lost cause; you reach for the outcast; for the leper and the lame, they’re the reason that you came.  Lord I was that lost cause and I was the outcast.  But you died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at your feet.”  The bridge in the song is a chorus of this line: “You are good, you are good and your love endures forever.” 

What if people were able to say that about Christians?  That we are good.  That we always show love to others.  If each of us chose that one goal, for the rest of our lives, how many people would be brought to a saving faith in Jesus?  How would our world be changed?  

The chorus of the song should be our prayer.  The words read, “Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, open our eyes to the world at 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 our hearts for what breaks yours.”

Jesus gave his followers a new commandment.  It wasn’t a new suggestion, it was a new commandment.  Jesus said, “love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).  

Jesus was a friend of sinners.  I’m for being like Jesus – how about you?

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