If I had to pick my favorite attribute of the Lord Jesus, it would be that he was “SAFE"! Think about it! No one was ever afraid to come into His presence. The sick approached him readily, and even His enemies who often got slammed by His words, did not hesitate to approach Him. And what about “the sinners,” those wayward ones who had committed such horrible acts of sin? Well, they too knew that they were able to approach Him. And I believe it is noteworthy, that when He approached them, though they might be uncomfortable – they did not run or shrink back from Him.
I am thinking of the hated tax collector Zaccheus, and how Jesus had dinner in his home. I am thinking of the sinful Samaritan, whom He engaged in a theological discussion, using that as a platform to cut through the “theology” to her most deeply felt needs, which He in turn offered to meet. And what about the adulterous woman, you know, the one that the “religious community” was ready to stone for her adultery? Well, He stood as a buffer between them, humiliating them for their hypocrisy and offering her forgiveness and restoration!
I love Him for extending the “safe harbor” that He offered to people who were experiencing the storms of life inwhich a sin cursed world hurled at them. It did not matter who they were, where they were from, what they had done, how many times they had done it, nor who they had done it with… the only issue for them was that now they were standing, kneeling, or face down in the presence of His safety that He was offering. Their only failure now, would be if they rejected the safety He offered, and yet, even then, He would continue to present Himself to them if only they would take advantage of His offer to receive them.
Oh, if only the church could function in such a way as to offer such a safe harbor for the people of this world. Oh, if the church could only be that place where it mattered not where men and women had been, so much as where they are now – resting in Him! My prayer, is that it would start with me. But I hope it doesn’t end there. My prayer is that it would continue with you, as well. That all of us who name the name of Jesus would offer to others a “safe-place.”
How are you doing in this pursuit? I would challenge you to go to those around you and ask them? “Do you feel safe around me? Can you let your hair down and be yourself around me? Or do you feel like you have to be on your best game when you are around me? Do you feel like you have to guard your words and actions around me?” The answers to those questions are going to reveal the bottom line – whether or not you just preach grace or also practice it as well! I never want to be a teacher of grace, without also being one who practices grace. I want to offer to all who need it, a safe place in a world that can be and feel so unsafe. I want people who experience my presence, when they leave my presence, to know that they were and are loved! That simple…