When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”—Mark 2:16-17
The great scientist Isaac Newton once performed an experiment that required him to stare at the image of the sun in a mirror. The brightness burned into his retina and he suffered temporary blindness. Even after he isolated himself for three days behind closed shutters, still the bright spot wouldn’t fade from his vision.
“I used all means to divert my imagination from the sun,” he wrote, “but if I thought upon him I presently saw his picture though I was in the dark.”
For millennia, people have been trying to get rid of the problem of sin by removing themselves from the presence of sinners. In the middle ages, monks would isolate themselves from the world in monasteries. Yet, their extreme piety often led them to commit the sin of pride.
And in the early days of the American colonies, many came over from other countries to establish a nation of all Christians. But it wasn’t long before unbelievers began to pop up all over.
Isolation from sinners doesn’t get rid of sin. In fact, like that dark room for Isaac Newton, it can actually make the problem of sin more prevalent.
When it comes to sinners, many people’s first reaction is to isolate themselves. But instead of pulling away, remember you have the power in you to confront sin and love sinners. Choose engagement with sinners over isolation and show God’s love to the lost!
Ask God to open your eyes to the lost people in your life perhaps you’ve been avoiding. Pray He’d show you how to demonstrate His love for the world.
Questions for thought
Have you been guilty in the past of isolating yourself because you didn’t approve of others’ behavior? How?
Who are some ‘sinners’ in your life today with whom you can engage for the sake of sharing Christ?