The world has changed since I was very young; it has lost its much of its gentleness and become a harsher place to live in. But I still think of those days and like to remember the television shows of the fifties and the gentle movies that Walt Disney produced. Remember the Disney movie "Bambi"? A newborn deer named Bambi was curious about flowers and so investigated a nearby patch of them. Much to his surprise, he found a little skunk (named Flower) and the two became fast friends. Bambi was an innocent; someone who didn't know skunks were "bad" and should be avoided. Impossible in real life? Not at all, for the top half of the graphic shows that it IS POSSIBLE. Now, take a moment and apply this to PEOPLE. Jesus did... and so should we. Read the following passage from the book of Luke to see what I mean...
Luke, Chapter 4
16 He came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. He entered, as was his custom, into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 The book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. He opened the book, and found the place where it was written,
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to heal the broken hearted,
to proclaim release to the captives,
recovering of sight to the blind,
to deliver those who are crushed,
19 and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
20 He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began to tell them, “Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
22 All testified about him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth, and they said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”
23 He said to them, “Doubtless you will tell me this parable, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done at Capernaum, do also here in your hometown.’” 24 He said, “Most certainly I tell you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. 25 But truly I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land. 26 Elijah was sent to none of them, except to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 There were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed, except Naaman, the Syrian.”
28 They were all filled with wrath in the synagogue, as they heard these things. 29 They rose up, threw him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill that their city was built on, that they might throw him off the cliff. 30 But he, passing through their midst, went his way.
The Jews thought Jesus was amazing- just as long as he didn't tread on their prejudices and preconceived ideas about people. Jesus taught that God had went to the Gentiles and blessed them and the Jews of his hometown hated him enough to try to kill him for it!!! Great story you say; but we don't do such things- we are just not like that!!!! Really? What if a drunk came into our worship assembly or a known child molester or perhaps even a lesbian couple (holding hands throughout the service) - What then. God died for all of them, not just for those of us who are "good people". Now, I am NOT saying that we should condone sin, but I am saying that even the most despicable person in our midst deserves a chance to hear the GOOD NEWS of God that leads to eternal life!!! Truth is... you never really know how PEOPLE LOOK AT YOU- PERHAPS THEY MIGHT THINK YOU ARE A SKUNK??? Aren't you glad God doesn't think that way??? The following verse just popped into my mind...
Romans, Chapter 5
6 For while we were yet weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man. Yet perhaps for a righteous person someone would even dare to die. 8 But God commends his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
I don't know about you, but I am going to pray that God sends a few skunks MY WAY-- and I hope they have open minds!!!!
ps. All this reminded me of the Hymn..
Of one the Lord has made the race Thro' one has come the fall Where sin has gone must go His grace The gospel is for all The blessed gosple is for all The gospel is for all Where sin has gone must go His grace The gospel is for all Say not the heathen are at home Beyond we have no call For why should we be blest alone? The gospel is for all Received ye freely, freely give From ev'ry land they call Unless they hear they cannot live The gospel is for all Words public domain