Melissa's Posts, {Life}

{Life} Born to Love

Written By: Melissa Longval

And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully.  But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” Luke 19: 5-7

The story of Zacchaeus is familiar to us, but as I read it this past week, one line struck me anew.  “But when they saw it, they all complained…” What had they seen?  Who were “they”?  Where had they come from?

Reading the Word of God in context is vital to understanding the whole of the scripture I am studying.  So as I back up to chapter 18 in Luke, I discover much that opened my eyes to not only the “THEY” in this story, but also the “ME” in this story.

As is known, Zacchaeus was not just a tax collector, but the chief tax collector…head honcho.  Hated and despised; tax collectors were greatly distrusted and poorly regarded.  Because of dishonest dealings and deceitful practices, people did not associate with them.

So, back to my questions.

The “they” in the above scripture are referring to the people who had been walking with Jesus.  They had heard Jim preach, perform a miracle, and tell the rich young ruler that it was impossible for a rich man to get into heaven.  Ironically, Jesus also preached about the Pharisee and the tax collector.

 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other{Pharisee}, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18: 13-14

Even after witnessing all this, they complained when Jesus brought Zacchaeus into His fold.  I’m sure Zacchaeus could hear them complaining.  He knew, how they regarded him.  He wasn’t with anyone before he climbed up the tree.  Isolation is often the price for riches.

Zacchaeus joyfully received Jesus and declared before all, his true and honest intentions of restitution and repentance.  We know it is genuine, because Jesus declared, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19: 9-10.

Wait!  Did you catch that?  Jesus just accomplished the impossible!  Zacchaeus, a very rich man, just received salvation!  He was willing to do what the rich young ruler was not…follow Christ at all cost!

And yet, they complained!

How like me to disregard miracles that go against my preconceived notions and judgments!  I put more stock in my idea of a person than in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.  I allow what I think of a person to determine how I see their walk with the Lord.  Instead of rejoicing, I complain about their past sins, real or imagined.  I can get caught up in the crowd and allow their judgments to lead me.

As a mom, I struggle with this with my children and their friends.  I have this idea of what I want for my children.  I think we all do.  I have this picture of what is good and what is bad.  If someone doesn’t fit into my image of good, I really grapple with refusing the friendship and protecting my children.

That mentality can even infiltrate into the family.  If the family doesn’t fit my idea then I want to cut off the relationship.  We are called to be diligent and to be careful.  After all, bad company does corrupt good character as we read in 1 Corinthians 15:33.  But we are never called to quickly dismiss someone based solely on reputation.

As a Christian this should not be!

I know I need to protect and guide, but I also need to trust that the Lord is the better protector.  I am called to shine the light of Christ to the world around me.  How can I do that if I am proudly shutting out the very people Christ has brought to me to love and serve?

In the wise words of my 14 year old daughter, “If we don’t love them and show them the love of Christ, Mom, who will?”

So today, I choose to be brave.  I choose to lay down my complaints, judgments, and preconceived notions of people and trust the Lord to lead, guide, and protect me and my family.  May I joyfully receive that which He came to save…the lost, the unlovable, sinners.

Until Next Time
~ Melissa

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