Jesus Set The Example, Friend Of Sinners
My Spotify shuffle is a hot mess, most hours of the day. I've got training playlists to help me run faster, showtunes to quench my Broadway thirst, and a hodgepodge of other jams that satisfy any mood I find myself in. It's truly a little bit of everything, so putting Spotify on shuffle is a gamble - I never know what I'm going to get.
As I was commuting home last week, this shuffle brought forth Casting Crown's "Jesus, Friend of Sinners."
This band is nothing new. Having grown up in the church, Casting Crowns was a staple to any youth night, Bible study, or "all-safe" radio need. Maybe it was the mood I was in, or the fact that I was finishing up an incredibly difficult week, but the lyrics to this familiar tune hit me harder than they had before.
"Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth's become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You but they're tripping over me"
Looking around, I see this first verse every day, in others and in myself. We are so quick to yell. So quick to shoot people down. So quick to act selfishly instead of with kindness and consideration for others.
In our political climate, we see hatred.
In our social climate, we see inauthenticity.
In our world as a whole, gratitude is becoming a lost art.
Y'all, we're just people. We're all in sticky situations now and again. We're all "doing great!" now and again. We're never at liberty to point a finger and decide we're better than the person walking on the sidewalk next to us. It’s the same sidewalk, after all.
"Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks Yours"
I’m constantly told that this is the time of my life where I can, and should, be selfish. With my relationships, plans, career decisions...and yes, to some extent, that is true. My state of unattachment allows me to think mainly about what I want to do next.
But I’m afraid our world is taking this advice to all corners of life.
We’re selfish in how we treat others.
We’re selfish in how we hoard our time.
We’re selfish in how we prioritize our petty wants above anything else, rolling our eyes at minor inconveniences in our day-to-day.
Our world revolves around our Instagrams and invites to the next social event, not acts of servitude or encouragement. Most of these selfish desires, innately, revolve around our pride. We want to be right, and we want to assert that correctness.
How often does that pride stop us from loving others - being a friend - like Jesus showed through His life?
”What if we put down our signs, crossed over the line, and loved like you did.”
Sometimes we don't even know we are acting out of selfish ambition or prideful intent. Sometimes we don't just don't think. We're sinful, I think we can all get on board with that notion. That's why it's a choice - it's something to practice. It's waking up in the morning with the decision to love others and serve them as Jesus did.
I'm not saying it's easy and I'm not saying I'm perfect (or even good) at this. But imagine a world where this was practiced. Imagine glorifying the Father in this way.
Smiling yet? Me too.