The only time I can recall that Jesus ever showed contempt for anyone was when He became frustrated with religious church folks. They just didn’t get it. I don’t ever see an account of Jesus showing contempt for the lost.
Sometimes I don’t think we get it either.
Lately I’ve seen a good many church folks looking down their noses at the lost. We expect the sick to behave as though they’ve been healed, and when they don’t we judge them out the wahzoo. We choose not to get too close for fear of getting dirty. We forget what it was like for us before we came to know Jesus.
Reaching out takes effort and planning. It doesn’t just happen.
My husband and I have always chosen to send our kids to public school. It was a conscious decision we made, just as parents who home school or send their kids to private/Christian schools make that conscious decision for their kids. For us, as we worked in ministry, it was about infusing our family into the community in which we lived. It was another way to rub elbows with those outside the Kingdom. I’m thinking that at the time, we had no idea what that decision would mean for our kids.
It’s not been without its down side.
When my oldest son started kindergarten, he came home from school the first week, told me he had learned five bad words at school, and he knew what three of them meant. He shared them with me, in alphabetical order, and defined the ones he knew. Great. And that was just the beginning.
Being children of the light in a dark world can be hard on kids.
As they’ve grown older, one of the biggest challenges for our kids has been learning how to keep a Kingdom mindset about the kids who don’t know Jesus. It’s having compassion over contempt. That can be hard. There are plenty of godless kids on the bus, in their classes, and in the school hallways. They use bad language, illegal drugs, and take part in all kinds of activities that will lead them down roads better left untraveled.
It would be easy for my kids to sit back and point a judgmental finger. It would be easy to have contempt and become frustrated. It would be easier still for me to have them stay completely away from those kids, but that’s not the life we have chosen.
What would be Jesus-like about that? Jesus said He came to seek the lost and heal the sick. I know my kids aren’t Jesus, but they are to be His hands and feet. I want my kids to have great Christian friends who will hold them accountable, and help keep them from stumbling, but I also want my kids to have a heart to help bring as many other kids to Jesus as they can. To do that, they have to put themselves out there and have Christ-like compassion.
My youngest son has a Star Wars action figure collection. He has dozens of these he has collected over the years. Recently, he lost one. Stop the world. He wanted off. He turned the house upside down looking for it. Foolishly I said, “You have tons of others, just play with them.” The look of shock on his face was huge. His reply was this, “But that one is special. I have to find it.” And he searched for days until he did.
That reminds me of the parable of the good Shepherd. Remember that story? Jesus said that a good Shepherd who owns one hundred sheep, and who has one go missing, will leave the ninety-nine to go find the one. It’s doesn’t matter that he still has ninety-nine good, obedient sheep.
He cares about the lost one.
There’s no better example of how it isn’t about us than that. We have to stop thinking it’s about us.
That parable is our example to follow. We could sit around and hold hands with all the Christians we know, criticizing the lost folks, or we can go get them and help bring them home. They might be dirty from their travels, but they’ll clean up just fine. It’s not easy, but its the life I want for myself, and it’s the life I hope we are teaching our kids to have.