Recently I was having a conversation with a lady in a courtroom. She had been found guilty of several crimes and was waiting for her sentencing, unsure whether she would be headed home or to jail for up to a year. Through the conversation she shared other struggles she was facing and her hopelessness. I invited her to come to church and suggested that she may be able to find useful resources through church that would benefit her family. Her response was, “Oh – I can’t go to church, that’s for religious people. People like me don’t go to church.”
Timothy says “…though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” 1 Tim 1:13-16
Sometimes I wish there were magic glasses that I could put on which would allow me to see only what is inside a person without the distraction of all that is on the outside. God is able to do that – appearance means nothing to him. How “religious” someone acts does not impress. He gave mercy so that through His mercy to us we would be an example to others of His perfect patience.
How do you think non-believers perceive Christ’s love and mercy through you?