It was the Friend of Sinners that Came

devotional

I know a friend who works in a ministry that is based around the mission of rescuing people from the trade of sex-trafficking. Hearing some of the stories they tell me, makes me realize the kind of brutality and scary things out there that I have not even heard of or given much attention to. But there was a story that I was told that really stuck with me even to this day.

A guy (I will call him Paul for this story) who was part of a sex-trafficking ring was caught by the authorities there and he was locked up for questioning and trial. Whilst he was in there, this friend of mine was going around ministering to people and he came across Paul in jail and they spoke and shared stories of their lives with each other. Turns out that Paul was just a guy like you and me. But things happened during the course of his life that made him penniless and since he didn’t have much of an education or formal qualification to apply for a decent job, he found himself accepting this offer into the sex trafficking trade. He quickly learnt how profitable of a job it was and he loved it purely because he was finally in a place where money didn’t seen to be of worry for him and this was all he wanted. But there was something else too which also made him love being in this trade. According to him, life and people were unkind to him. When he was in need and was desperate, people pushed him away and he had no one to go to or turn to. Society simply saw him as a hopeless case and naturally didn’t want to do anything with him. He even mentioned how he went to a temple just so that he could beg for some food, but he was turned away because he was an outcast. He said he knew what he was doing was wrong but it didn’t matter to him anymore because it was the wrong that finally gave him what he wanted – security, comfort, an identity and a place where he could belong.

My friend visited Paul in jail for a very long time and during his meetings, He introduced Paul to Jesus. They soon became good friends and he mentioned that many people he knew raised their eyebrows when he told them that he was friends with a convicted sex-trafficker. People were quick to point out that Paul was a dangerous person and that he deserved to stay in jail. Some even didn’t hesitate to go as far as to mention that all Paul deserved was death. And the strange thing was that all these statements were coming from people who claimed to be Christian. Long story story, years have passed and today Paul is working with my friend to save women from the trade of sex-trafficking and share Jesus with those who do not know Him.

In the Bible we see Jesus not hanging out the most with the high priests or the Pharisees but rather it was with the drunks, the tax collectors and the prostitutes that he interacted with much of the time. And sure enough there were people who spoke behind his back accusing Jesus of being a crazy and deranged person. But putting away all these “overly-righteous” people aside, do you notice how it was Jesus that actually approached these people who were deemed outcasts of the society at the time? It was this humble and love filled approach that Jesus had towards these people that changed everything and even the world but at the same time making Him known as  the Guy who was the friend of sinners.

I can’t say what would’ve become of Paul had he not met Jesus but all I know is that it wouldn’t have been anything good. Paul, in this story above, was a reject and an outcast. But no matter who he was and where he came from, it was the Friend of sinners that came to Him, touched him and changed His life forever.

This leads me to the question – As Christians whose team are we truly on – the Pharisees who pretend to be a righteous bunch or Jesus who is a friend of the everyday sinner? Humility is key as a Christian and yes, we may have been saved and born again in the name of Jesus thereby stripping our sins away but that doesn’t not make us an elite person whatsoever. Never forget that Jesus was a sinless person and was God Himself and yet He was humble enough to forgive and accept anyone and everyone. As Christians we are called to be the same by following the example of Christ and adopting His ways into our own lives. When we love as much as Jesus does, we can look past the wrongs and sin of others like Paul so much so that we can accept him or anyone else into our lives as our brother or sister in Christ rather than reject them like the Pharisees did.

I was once a lost soul but I am found and I can truly call myself a Christian all because the friend of sinners came to me and rescued me when I needed help the most. This is who Jesus is and this is what Christianity is all about.

 

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