How do you feel when someone who’s been hurtful, cruel, or morally corrupt gets hit with a hardship that makes them suffer? Our natural tendency is to rejoice because justice has finally been meted out. Jesus addresses this in Luke 13:1-9. Evil-doers are children of God living in ignorance of their true identity. Mourn with Jesus over this tragedy — this is the gift of mercy.
Jesus wants us to understand that we cannot truthfully say that someone is a “greater sinner”, even if that person is doing more damage than anyone else, is more unChristian than we are, or is blatantly an evil-doer.
Every person has been created in the image of God, even the worst ones. Those who display an opposite image are nonetheless loved by Jesus Christ, who died for them. It’s a tragedy that they do not live as the person God created them to be, because this harms others. But it will be an even worse tragedy if no one invites them to turn their lives over to Christ by loving them as he loves them….
All those who have sinned against you are like the fig tree in Jesus’ parable. If you have access to them, he wants you to till their soil. He wants you to fertilize their souls with love and with the truth of the Gospel as taught by your actions and, when they’re ready, by your words. He wants you to give them a gentle but obvious invitation to grow in the right direction.
Notice that Jesus doesn’t want us to keep a diseased, disintegrating tree in the garden forever.
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See also our WordByte When Love Hurts: Healing the Lepers of Today >>
Who are the lepers of today? The people in your life who need your healing touch but who repulse you, who cause suffering. They are the people who are the most difficult to love, the ones we reject because they keep hurting us, the jerks who make our lives miserable, the trouble-makers we stay away from to keep our lives more peaceful.
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