Well, after a too long hiatus from The New Christians I’m back at it. I left off with the story of Trucker Frank, an intriguing story nestled between chapters 3 and 4. What literally jumped off the pages was Trucker Frank’s personal insights in to the all-too-familiar pass of Matthew 18 [A Brother Who Sins Agains You]. As is mentioned in the story, this passage is often viewed and used as ammunition for shunning “sinners.” Trucker Frank in his road-worn theology points out that Matthew 18 isn’t about shunning “sinners” it’s about loving them. Let’s take a look at the passage:
Matthew 18:15-17 (NIV)
15″If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16If he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. 17IF he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”
…”treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” i.e. shun them. Trucker Frank however sees this differently. He asks, “How did Jesus treat tax collectors and pagans?” “He welcomed them!”
WOW! Forgive me Lord for being so blind to a truth so obvious. I have to side with Jones here, listen to what he says after hearing Trucker Frank drop this bomb of truth at church. “I’ll admit that I’d heard that passage dozens of times in my Christian life, often to condone the most un-Christ-like behavior, but I’d never seen it as Frank had just explicated it. The proverbial scales fell from my eyes.”
The question, I think, given this new insight–this new revelation of truth–what will I do with it? What will you do with it? How we treat one another is so central to who we are to be in Christ. It’s hard to think that Jesus, who’s message was all about love wouldn’t want his followers to at all times and in all places and to all people be clear expressions of love.
God usher to me the strength to love the way you love, to the people that you love.