Another sad Monday in our country and the world. I don't want to just sit in paralyzed sorrow. I want to be a part of the solution.
I am amazed at the power of music and lyric to move my heart and soul. Today a tune from Casting Crowns touched my heart. One or two lyrical thoughts can have more impact than a beautifully written article or book. The song “Jesus, Friend of Sinners” has a number of those powerful lyrics.
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
Ouch. How much damage has been done in the name of Christ by well-meaning or by just mean churchgoers? The toll is heartbreaking. Truly that sword was never ours to wield. The next few lines are just as powerful.
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
Nothing breaks my heart more than the thought that seekers of truth are tripping over me. I fear that my need to look good and righteous will disguise my desperate need for grace and the Gospel.
Jackie DeShannon sang that what the world needs most is love sweet, love. That is true with an addendum. What the worlds needs most is love sweet love…and the grace of God. I can never live a life that is so perfectly good that people will see Jesus. But I can live a life that is honest, full of grace, love and kindness and from that life they might see Him.
As Jesus faced the horror of the Cross He offered this command to His disciples.
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. (John 14, NLT)
I ask myself as I write these words. Does my love prove that I am a follower of Jesus? Does my heart reveal that I comprehend the magnitude of His grace? What the world needs now is the love of Jesus demonstrated selflessly and without agenda by the community of believers. Collectively we can make a difference. Or we can contribute to the pain.
In a earlier article I outlined my prayer for my life.
- To try and see everyone through the eyes of Jesus because my eyes are prejudiced and prideful.
- To try and love them like Jesus because my love is selfish.
- To try and see that no one misses out on the message of grace, identity, acceptance and one-way love that is offered as a free gift of grace by the finished work of Jesus on the Cross.
- To let them others know that my relationship with Jesus and His grace has changed my life, given my life purpose, given me strength to endure tragedy, and real hope for the future.
- To be gentle in relating the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ to people in every situation and mired in any sin. My goal is to introduce them to Jesus and let them work it out together while walking with them in grace and love.
- To exhibit grace and forgiveness to those who attack me for not sharing their views.
- To freely dispense the grace of the living Christ to everyone I come in contact so that I can be salt and light to my little circle of influence.
- To try to never be surprised or repulsed by the actions of those who do not have a relationship with Jesus. The Lord Himself was always gentle with sinners and always tough on religious hypocrites. We have reversed his example far too often. We are too tough on sinners and too gentle with the hypocrites.
- To try and give generously of my time and treasure to those who have not been as materially blessed in my neighborhood, my country, and around the world.
- To let people know that I love Jesus and I am not at all ashamed of that fact.
None of those are possible without leaning fully on the grace of Jesus everyday.
The world is hurting today. Millions of people are confused and scared. I believe that God can heal, give hope and calm fears. My assignment is love others. Not just those like me. Everyone who needs the grace of God. And that, I believe, is everyone.
Dave Burchett is the Author of Stay: Lessons My Dogs Taught Me about Life, Loss, and Grace. A portion of every sale goes to train service dogs for wounded veterans through Patriot Paws.