“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
(Prov. 17:17 NIV)
I once heard the story of a fallen television evangelist. At one time, he was very popular and believed he was following the Lord. One day he was on top of the world. The next he was living a nightmare. He found himself in jail. He was ashamed and alone. The world looked at him and shook their heads. Those who once walked beside him had distanced themselves from him. No one wanted to be associated with him, except one man.
The man who visited him in jail was a rather famous man. He had a good reputation. He was respected and accomplished although he might deny that because of his humility. He was an evangelist, author and advisor to many powerful people. Most recognized his name and many admired his work. He was the one who went to the downcast man. He was the one who risked his reputation to help a fallen brother. Why would he risk everything he had built to come to the aid of a broken man? Why would he be associated with such a sinner?
He did it because he loved his brother in the Lord. When he looked at the fallen man, he wasn’t disgusted by his behavior. He wasn’t ashamed to be associated with him. He went to him because he cared more for his brother than he did for his reputation. He wasn’t worried about what others thought of him. He cared and wanted to love him as God commanded.
There was another man in the Bible who went to the downcast and rejected. His name was Jesus. He was contrary to the religious leaders because of the company he kept. He went to the prostitutes, adulterers, tax collectors and social outcasts. He approached the possessed and oppressed and offered them freedom. He wasn’t willing to follow the crowd. He only followed the voice of His Father. And He was condemned for it.
Each day we are confronted with a decision. Will we go to the outcasts and love them or will we follow the crowd? Even in the Christian realm, we are faced with this choice. Most times we base our decision on popular opinion. We don’t know the whole story and so we follow the crowd. We don’t want to stand out among our peers. We don’t want to upset the balance. We certainly don’t want confrontation. And so, we take the path of least resistance. We follow the loudest voices instead of following the still small voice of God.
Forgive me for looking the other way when there is a need. Forgive me for living the safe life instead of stepping out in faith. Forgive me for choosing my comfort over the needs of this world. Show me what to do. Show me where to go. Show me whom to serve.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34 NIV)