Matthew 9:10-13, "While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eatwith tax collectors and sinners?" On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
Matthew 5:3, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
When I heard what he said I winced, "You Christians are such 'Holier than thou,' types." I smiled sadly. "No," I said. "we're just so pathetic that we're desperate enough to admit how much we need God."
There is this bizarre perception, this age old myth, that Christians have some sort of superiority complex. Once you know some genuine Christians this becomes laughable. The 'holier than thou' types of Jesus' day were the religious leaders, the Pharisees, and Jesus blasted this group more than any other. In fact it was the only group He did attack. "You brood of vipers..." (Matthew 23:33). "You whitewashed tombs..." (Matthew 23:27). Jesus said, "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10). Not much has changed in 2000 years. Jesus is still looking for the pathetic, the broken, the head cases, the addicts, the helpless sinners, the homeless and the hopeless. That's how come He found us, we Christians.
Actually, what they really mean to point to is the exclusive claims of Christ. Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). But there is an important difference between Jesus exclusive claims ("I am the only way to God")—which would be true if He was who he said He was because truth is exclusive by nature—and Jesus inclusive offer of salvation. Remember how pathetic we are and you'll understand how easy it was to dismiss the other law based faiths with their myriad of laws, rules and regulations that we haven't got a chance to keep. If you understand who we are you understand why karma doesn't sit well with us. After all, we don't need some moral law we can't keep. We've tried to change ourselves a million times and failed a million-and-one. We've just failed so often, so spectacularly, that we know what we need. We need a Savior!
So, when I say that, “I am a Christian,” I am not shouting that I am clean living. I'm whispering that, “I was lost, but now I'm found and forgiven.”
When I say that, “I am a Christian,” I don't speak of this with pride. I confess that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.
When I say that, “I am a Christian,” I'm not trying to be strong. I'm professing that I'm weak and need His strength to carry on.
When I say that, “I am a Christian,” I'm not bragging of success. I'm admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.
When I say that, “I am a Christian,” I'm not claiming to be perfect. My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.
When I say that, “I am a Christian,” I still feel the sting of pain. I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.
When I say that, “I am a Christian,” I'm not holier than thou. I'm just a simple sinner who received God's good grace, somehow! (By an anonymous sinful Christian)
If that's you—if you too are a failure in your moral life, and know how easy it is for you to mess up your life; if life has leveled you to the point you know you can't stand on your own two feet before a holy God; if you're a screw up, a stumbler, a falling down mess—have I got the perfect One for you! Jesus. He's the only One who wants us sinners. He said, "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly" (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message). That's what I need. How about you?
Prayer: Father, we know we're chosen because the perfect people wouldn't come. We are still grateful to come, eager to come. We've tried to change ourselves from the outside in but failed so often we know we need Your power to change us from the inside out. We are sinners in need, not of yet another moral law we can't keep, but a Savior. We humbly fall before Your cross, Lord Jesus, and accept by faith what You were willing to do for us who were unable to do it for ourselves. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! In Jesus name, amen.