This weekend at One Community Church we talked about Jesus and his relationships that appeared Radical on the outside. Hanging out with Tax Collectors, Sinners, unclean gentiles, etc. The list could go on and on, and interestingly enough I started to put myself in this radical relationship category!
I said something that I have heard before, but didn’t even realize it applied to my own life!
I was talking about how I came to be a follower of Christ through a group of people who let me BELONG to their group before I BELIEVED! And boy did I not belong. I cussed… they didn’t. I drank… they didn’t. I hated… they didn’t. I was looking for a fight… they didn’t!
Belong before you believe is not just a neat little saying… it’s for real, and exactly how Jesus operated.
Mark 2:15 says, “While He was reclining at the table in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were also guests with Jesus and His disciples, because there were many who were following Him.”(HCSB)
Did you catch that… many tax collectors and sinners followed Jesus! Jesus allowed them to belong before they believed! Think of the disciples, when Jesus called them to follow Him. He didn’t give them a systematic theology test or ask what their testimony was before He let them follow Him and become His disciples. He simply called and they responded, period. And the gospels show us clearly that they didn’t believe the right things in the beginning… but because they continued to follow Jesus, they eventually worked out their “issues”.
So please make sure we are not making outsiders feel like they have to believe right and get cleaned up before they belong to our tribes! Our lives and our churches should be a safe place for the outcasts of society to sit at our feet and wash them with their tears even if they are still in the midst of their own sin and life without Jesus!