Sometimes I think Christians are so busy pointing out everything that’s wrong with the world that we become jerks for Jesus. The words we say are full of condemnation and contempt. Instead, when we look at the world, I’d hope that our attitude is like that of Jesus: “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).
So often we get arrogant, pointing out what’s wrong with “them,” that we end up harassing the sheep instead of having compassion on them.
Really, what Jesus condemned the most was when the legalistic church leaders made so many rules and made it so hard for people to come to faith that the people just gave up. Faith seems unappealing when people believe they will never measure up to the rules.
Instead, today, when Jesus tells you to go out into the world and take the good news, speak the truth out of love for Jesus and love for the people you’re talking to. Take his message of forgiveness and redemption to the people who live differently than you do and who need to know that following Jesus is about knowing the good news, not about following all the rules.
Let the Holy Spirit work through the words you speak. Let him be the one to change people’s lives as they are transformed by faith—in his time.
And, whatever you do, don’t harass the sheep.