Throughout all time “the good guys” have tried to remove themselves from “the bad guys”. We have tried to make visible separations; the good guys will wear white hats and the bad guys will wear black hats. Religious zealots, no matter the theology, have removed themselves from “the sinners”. John the Baptist lived out in the desert wilderness of Judea. He ate from the desert, locusts and honey, and wore animal skins for clothing. He lived apart from those “lesser people” not so focused, not so devoted. He preached to these other people, calling them out concerning their sins.
Monks, such as Tibetan Buddhist Monks, have removed themselves from society, often living in remote monasteries, so that “the world” will not taint them or suck them back into the awful filth and sin of the world. While this action did have benefits, such as the translating of religious documents into many different languages, the isolation does not allow “the doctor” to be available to “the patients”.
Jesus got into trouble with the religious establishment of His day because He “mixed-it-up” with the sinners He encountered. Lepers were thought to be that way due to sin; to touch one was to also make you unclean and a sinner. Rather than separate from these so-called “sinners”, so you would not also become a sinner, we see that Jesus reaching out to the unclean, touching them and making them clean again. The blind were blind by either their own sin or the sins of their parents, so the people thought; the same was felt over those who were lame. What did Jesus do with the blind and the lame? Jesus healed the blind and the lame, most often by touching them! He did not remove Himself from being exposed to their plight; the Bible speaks of the compassion Jesus felt for them because He was there with them and not off in some mountaintop monastery. The tax collectors, because they often cheated people, were thought to be sinners as well. Because He was there walking the same streets, Jesus had fellowship with them, ate dinner with them, made one His own disciple! This “human compassionate sharing” did not sit well with the religious establishment of the day. The Doctor was seeking the lost.
Jesus had healed a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute. Seeing the man speaking and now with sight, the Pharisees claimed that Jesus healed by controlling demons, thus He was a blasphemer against the Holy Spirit. The sin is actually on the Pharisees’ because they attributed to Satan what was accomplished by the power of God. The willful and persistent rejection of God and his commands is a sin is committed today by unbelievers who reject the ministry of the Holy Spirit and thus produce trash. What comes out of a person (thoughts and actions) is what defiles a person. So we see in this story below, Jesus producing good fruit in the healing, and the Pharisees becoming angry at the “life-giver” rather than celebrate the rebirth of a man made whole again.
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:33-37 ESV)
A Christian is told to turn the other cheek, or the carry a load two miles instead of the Roman mandated one mile (Matthew 5:39-41). We are told to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-44). These are hard to do actions, but this sets us apart from a world that sees the Christian action as weakness. That’s okay; we are in this world but we are not of this world (John 17:16). I follow my leader, Jesus, who was far from being weak. He, on the evening of His arrest, was approached by 200 mighty Roman soldiers, the fiercest fighting men in the world at that time, asking for Jesus, He answered their question by saying “I am Jesus”, and they all fell away (John 18:3-6). We, wishing to be “useful wood” by following the footsteps of Christ, what do we do when the cultural “trash” really becomes offensive to us? Take Larry David, of his ridiculously unfunny HBO show, who urinated all over an image of Jesus Christ on his show, as was told by Doug Giles in his article on October 31, 2009, what do we do with such an act? I know many Christians who would be praying for Larry David to repent and be saved. Which person then is being the most useful, the one who prays for the salvation of another or the destroyer of goodness?