Grace for the worst parts of me

Originally published Tuesday, 15 April 2014.

Jesus heard about it and spoke up, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I’m here inviting outsiders, not insiders—an invitation to a changed life, changed inside and out.” Luke 5:31-32 (MSG)

A friend of mine recently started hanging out with homeless people. 

He isn’t just spending a few hours with them; he’s sleeping on the street with them. Once a week he takes a cardboard box and a sleeping bag and unrolls it on the streets to sleep with those who have no home. 

The homeless have allowed my friend to enter their community. He sits with them and hears their stories. The story of how a twenty year old girl has survived 13 years on the streets or Paul sharing how his greatest dream is to own a new t-shirt. 

My friend admits sleeping on the streets is the scariest thing he has ever done but his stories make me think about Jesus, about how Jesus offered grace to the people others overlooked. 

Day-after-day and night-after-night Jesus walked the streets sharing his life with all kinds of people. Jesus didn’t only greet the outcasts but he invited them spend time with him, to eat with him and to tell them his stories.

I read the stories of Jesus and I see how there is nothing that anyone could do that would scare him away. 

Throughout the bible it is clear that Jesus loves the people others love to hate. 

Jesus wants me – my pain, my struggles, my scars, my stench, my small dreams – around him. (tweet this)

Jesus wants outcasts around him. 

On the worst day of your life, when your sins all hang on you like signposts for all to see – on that day – Jesus wants you near him. (Luke 23:33-43)

When everyone else is pointing fingers and accusing you of the things you wish you’d never done – in that moment – Jesus wants you near him. (John 8:1-11)

Jesus won’t reject you in worst hour. He’ll look you in the eyes and say, “Come, come follow me, we’re going to my father’s house.”

And if you, or I, stop and say, “But I’m not good enough. Do you know what I’ve done?”

Jesus will say, “I’m here inviting outsiders, not insiders—an invitation to a changed life, changed inside and out.”

How can I refuse an invitation like that? An invitation that looks past the ugly parts of my life and sees who I can be. 

Grace. Jesus has grace for the worst parts of me. (tweet this)

Ponder: Do you believe that Jesus wants you near him at your worst?

Pray: Jesus, thank you that you have grace for the worst parts of me. 

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