There’s a beautiful exchange that takes place in Luke 5, when Jesus asks a tax collector to “follow” Him. The fascinating thing about the request, is that NO self respecting Rabbi would EVER ask someone caught right in the middle of a very public and shameful act of sin to follow them. Rabbi’s were looking for those that could effectively, and consistently bear their name, and someone caught in sin would certainly be an unlikely candidate .
But Jesus didn’t see a tax collector…He saw a disciple. He didn’t label and identify this man based on his past mistakes, or even his present involvement. He saw his FUTURE POTENTIAL. He looked beyond his circumstance, and instead saw his capacity.
It certainly wasn’t a popular move even among his own disciples. But Jesus knew that treating people based on who they were, rather than what they did, would be the catalyst to actually change the very behavior that other Rabbi’s would have taken issue with.
What if we stopped identifying, labeling, and judging people based on their current or past choices…and instead began to interact with them as lost sons or daughters who desperately need to come home? I know it might make us look a little less like a devout rabbi…but it would probably make us look and sound a little more like Jesus…