Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Tell me, what makes someone a sinner? Is Jesus saying that he calls those who have made mistakes? Is he exclusively calling those who have murdered, or adulterated? Is he talking about those who have stolen, or lied, or prostituted themselves, or done drugs?
Jesus came for those who needed help, those who recognized that they need help. What sick person doesn’t want to be well again?
It is easy, for those who haven’t encountered our homeless savior on the streets of our urban cities, to come to quick conclusions about the moral nature of our brothers and sisters suffering under the chains of poverty and homelessness. We are conditioned to believe that the gangs, the prostitutes, the convicts, the drug dealers, and the drug users are somehow morally inferior to the saved: that they cannot actually be saved and equally exist in their moral depravity.
Would it shock you to know that Christ’s kingdom has already come and is in the process of coming to these sinners?
Why would Jesus call the sinners? Possibly because the sinners recognize that they are lacking, which is precisely what creates the space for repentance. I assure you, the vast majority of our brothers and sisters here at River City Ministry are not lazy; they are like the rest of us, conditioned by the things around them to act a certain way. Our society has constructed a reality for us; has labeled us as lazy, as evil, as worthless. But this senseless oppression is actually used by God to create a space for us to change. Those suffering from extreme poverty already know what you think about them when you see them on the street; sadly, they usually think the same thing about themselves. This label of “sinner” makes the healing that comes through our Doctor that much sweeter.
My position here in North Little Rock is not that of a guilt creator. These people do not have to be reminded by a spokesperson of the Lord that they do not meet the mark; they are already preached that fact by Satan’s many voices, which may include yours somedays. My position here is that of a reminder, reminding people of the image and breath of God in their soul, reminding people that they have been empowered by the Creator to overcome the slavery of this reality, reminding people that Jesus was just like them–poor, hungry, smelly, a little crazy, and entirely loved by God. Our brothers and sisters with nothing have everything in Jesus’ kingdom.
Ask yourself if you’re contributing to the oppression of these people. How do you feel about the “sinners?” Do you actually love the dressed up image of God sitting in a prison cell or in the rundown neighborhood or on the street corner begging for money? Are you too focused on “what would Jesus do?” and not thinking, “what would I do for Jesus?”
The kingdom relies on you. It relies on you to help peacefully conquer the tyranny of hate and separation, to create heaven on earth, to become nurses for the healer.