The Israelites felt they had a damn good reason to hate prostitutes and tax collectors.

Back in the day, Jesus hung out with prostitutes and tax collectors. This was an affront to most people, for they had very good reason to hate prostitutes and tax collectors. Prostitutes break up marriages. Tax collectors are agents of the oppressive state. When Jesus hung out with them, he was making a point: even if you have very good reason to hate a group of people, you should still treat that group with dignity. Don’t underestimate what a tough pill to swallow that was.

In the same way, Jesus would definitely be hanging out with gay people these days. You may or may not like gay people. You may find them icky. But if you don’t like them or feel they are a threat to marriage, then that’s precisely the group you need to focus on accepting. The point Jesus is trying to make here is that if you can love your enemy, even if you feel you have very good reason to hate them, then loving your friends and family should be that much easier.

But if you hate the Arizona legislators who are trying to claim religious freedom as grounds for the un-Christ-like law officially sanctioning the rejection of gays, then you ought to be considering the fact that those legislators are your personal “prostitutes and tax collectors” in the eyes of Jesus. Followers of Jesus must identify the group they despise most — even if they feel they have good reason to despise them — and then turn around and accept them.

Know your enemy.

Then dine with them.

And for crying out loud, read the gospels.


5 thoughts on “The Israelites felt they had a damn good reason to hate prostitutes and tax collectors.

  1. Loving people is one of the hardest things I have to do in this life. Because in my very human way, I connect my love for them to how well they meet my expectations, how well they love me, or how deserving of it they seem to be. It’s easier to love strangers, those in distant African villages and those who don’t speak English. It isn’t an area I’ve perfected. MANY can attest to that. Interestingly enough, I was accused (maybe not quite the right word) this weekend of landing too heavy on the “love” side of things and less on the “truth” side of things. I’m ok with that. When I get to Heaven, and I see Jesus, I’d rather Jesus say, “Good job loving, kid.” Instead of, “Welp, in your attempt to be right all the time you came across like a real ass.”

  2. Ugh. So true! The way so many “religious” people quote sacred texts to support their political, biased, or self-serving agenda but ignore others that contradict those agendas really distresses me sometimes. Why is it so hard for us to try to BE like the Prophets? Isn’t that how we are supposed to come nearer to God, through their example?

  3. I have a lot harder time loving people who have rejected me (how about them ex’s), those who cut me off in traffic (or worse yet, speed up to pass me then slow down when they get back in front of me) or the lady at church who I’m sure is about as fake as her hair color.

    Just being real.

    Worse yet, we don’t get to choose who we love. That whole verse “love God, love others” includes all the jackasses out there.

    • Holly, one of the things I’ve found to be consistent about your message is the idea of loving all people, not just some. I appreciate that about you, and it’s a message that bears repeating.

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