Having Dinner with Whores

The teenager from my Sunday School class came to me on the sly.

“Mrs. Roeleveld, I have a problem.”
I braced myself. I’d been here before. Or so, I thought.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“I can’t possibly be a Christian.”
This was different.
“Why do you think that?” I asked.
Her eyes welled with tears. “I, well, I can’t help it but I just love all the wrong people.”
As we discussed her concerns, it became clear this girl thought the fact that she loved the outliers in her school
(the troubled, the transgendered, the gay, the sexually confused, the rebels, and the lost)
meant she couldn’t possibly have the spirit of Christ living within her.
As she explained, “I try to be angry with them like my parents and the other church people get. I know that some of what these kids do and believe is sinful. But, I can’t hate them. There must be something wrong with me. “
There’s something wrong, all right.
But it’s with the spirit of the age, not with loving other people.
To be fair, part of this teen’s struggle was her temptation to walk away from the faith and try a few things with some of the outliers – one boy in particular –
but we all have messy motives and
she’s not alone in thinking her only choices
are to join the angry people who love Jesus
or to love the wrong people.
That’s a little scary.
My grown-up friends struggle with this every day.
I see it on social media.
Anyone who dares post a status suggesting anything that sounds like it may eventually lead to approving someone elses’ sin
and they’re inundated with cautionary comments about sound doctrine
and concerns that the status is an early indicator of “slippery slope syndrome.”
This makes me angry
and sort of unloving
toward the commenters.
I confess.
Jesus is the author of sound doctrine
and He managed to love the wrong people every day
without mistaking His love as a blessing
for their sin.
He loves me this way everyday
and I’m one of the wrong people
before my feet hit the floor.
I get it.
We live in times when many church-goers are letting go of Biblical standards
and embracing false teaching
that minimizes sin.
Huge mistake.
But loving the wrong people is our central calling.
“Love one another as I have loved you.”
While I was still lost, Jesus gave His life for me.
He suffered being misunderstood, rejected, told He was from Satan, shunned, mocked, laughed at, arrested, beaten, tried unfairly, deserted, abandoned, crucified.
All this out of love for the wrong people.
And now I’m supposed to turn around and be just like Him.
I’m just like every other modern Christian,
fumbling as I try to figure this out.
I don’t want to misrepresent Jesus and play down the gravity of sin.
But Jesus is love
so I sure as shootin’ don’t want to miss that boat either.
So, I suggest, we speak the truth gently, simply, as clearly as we can and as close to scripture as we can keep it
but we stop being afraid to love
the wrong people
at the wrong times.
Jesus put His love to work on the Sabbath
and so should we.
And what that looks like,
this love thing,
should also be guided by scripture
which says this:
Love is patient and kind,
love is doesn’t envy or boast,
love isn’t arrogant or rude.
Love doesn’t insist on its own way.
It isn’t irritable or resentful and
it doesn’t rejoice in wrongdoing but in the truth.
Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things,
and it doesn’t end.
The same passage of scripture says that if we don’t have love – we’re nothing.
That merits my attention!
So if you tell me you love others but your love doesn’t look like that list I just wrote, you’re either lying or mistaken.
This isn’t about having a kumbahyah moment with someone who’s a little different from you
This is about loving the wrong people
in a time when it’s going to cost you something to do that

maybe cost you everything.

This is about loving without fear.

This is about not worrying so much about being right

and worrying more about being like Jesus.

This is about becoming students of mercy,
disciples who walk away from everything daily life once meant
to
have dinner with whores
and break the Sabbath to heal someone in their broken places

and risk the disapproval of the right people

in order to give the wrong people
a chance at life.
This is about a love that is so representative of Jesus

it bothers people.

Jesus’ acts of love bothered people
so much so they plotted to kill Him.

Is your love bothering anybody?

Have you ever been loved in the name of Jesus and it bothered or angered other people?

Let’s swap stories and build up courage here.

Are you one of those wrong people in need of love?

Are you loving any of the wrong people today?

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5 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Heather says:

    Lori, I think you crawled inside my head and wrote out my thoughts. Especially the idea of “loving without fear”. Excellent post!

  2. This is such a needed message in this day and age. How quickly we forget, Jesus sat at dinner with sinners, because they needed Him. Now we are Jesus in the world. Shouldn’t we be willing to do the same? Thanks for such a thought-provoking article. Good way to start the week.

  3. Lori, your title arrests; your content reminds, provokes, and then exalts Jesus. That’s pretty much the package in a Christian blog. To your list of the wayfaring, I would add “the suffering”. Their lot appears ugly and unapproachable to much of the (successful) church today. Pity. Jesus went there first.