Who Are The Sinners In Your Life?

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“You don’t live in the real world.” It was a comment that stung. I have to share the context in order to explain the personal meaning behind that comment. My son and I made a trip to the grocery store in a metropolitan area. As we stepped out of the car, a panhandler asked us for money. My son politely declined, which prompted a tirade of cuss words as the panhandler walked away.

As we checked out with our groceries, the bagger got upset and scolded me with a cuss word. I had simply moved the cart to allow our cashier to help the cashier one row over. Trying to make the best of an awkward situation, I smiled and wished the bagger a good evening when we walked away.

In the car, my son remarked that my smile for the bagger was backed by an attitude. I had to admit that there was some truth to his observation. The entire grocery shopping trip made me uncomfortable and left me feeling offended. Hence, my son gave his opinion that I don’t live in the real world.

Maybe he is right. I live in the suburbs, and I haven’t worked a full-time job outside the home in 24 years. My circle of influence includes family, friends, and as the leader of a cancer ministry, volunteers with similar goals for cancer survivors. I know “my people.”

My shopping trip experience came to mind again when I studied Jesus’ calling of Levi (Matthew) to be His disciple and the subsequent dinner with “sinners” and tax collectors.

Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” were eating with him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the “sinners” and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:13-17)

We are called to follow Jesus into new territory: Territory that is outside our comfort zone. Territory that increases our spheres of influence. Territory that might scare us for an array of reasons. As Christians, we are redeemed sinners who are called to reach out to other sinners.

While I wait for God’s direction, I’m praying that God fills my heart with compassion for people that offend me or make me feel uncomfortable. I pray that my smile and well wishes will reflect Jesus and not an attitude of judgment or rejection. Before I go for God, I recognize first that I am a sinner in need of God for my life. To be genuine, I have to be genuinely touched by the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

Who are the “sinners” in our lives? Who do we need to bring to Jesus? More importantly, who do we need to go to in order to bring the good news of Jesus Christ? Each one of us is a sinner who God reached out to when Jesus died on the cross. Now it is our turn to pray it forward. The real world with real people awaits us!

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11 thoughts on “Who Are The Sinners In Your Life?

  1. Of course, the answer is that we are all sinners, saved by grace (when we believe and trust in Him). This is thought-provoking because we never know where that new territory is that we are to explore. New territory can, in fact, be within our own home or on our own street when we are approached by people who are not of our like mind. Thanks for the challenging message.

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    • Donna, I remember a BSF principle from eons ago, “We are either a mission or a missionary!” I want to be the missionary, but it can be challenging as you shared. Praying for new territory for both of us.

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  2. The real World Debbie offers suffering and sorrow because that is what Sin brings and all have Sinned but many continue to Sin and will until the end of the World as we know it..

    As God’s Redeemed Children having had Heart Repentance which shows we Believe in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour we are saved by God’s Mercy and Grace but this does not mean we go on Sinning as the Scripture below confirms, we are to put our Carnal flesh to death that causes us to Sin (Romans 8 :12-15- Romans 6 -Colossians 3:4-6 -Galatians 5:24 -26) and Aim to be Perfected in Love.(Matthew 5:48 – Hebrews 6:1-Philippians 3:14-16 -2Timothy 3:17-1John 4:16-19- 1John 2:4-6- 2Corinthians 13:11) we will than walk as Jesus did on this earth in Love and Righteousness, yes He ate with Sinners but He never Sinned.

    Right now Debbie I would say I’m not Perfected fully as Paul said before he was (Philippians 3: 12-14) but I’m aiming for it with all my heart as he did (2 Timothy 4: 7-8), yes I’m working out my Salvation, not meaning working for it.

    1 John 3: 1-11 ( 9 ) No one who is Born of God will continue to Sin because God’s seed remains in him he cannot go on Sinning because he has been Born of God.

    John 8:34-36 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who Sins is a slave to Sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free you will be free indeed.

    Romans 6:6- 7 For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of Sin might be done away with that we should no longer be slaves to Sin because anyone who has died has been freed from Sin.

    1 John 5:18-20 We know that no one who is Born of God Sins but He who was Born of God keeps him and the evil one does not touch him.

    Romans 6:18-20 Being then made free from Sin ye became the Servants of Righteousness.

    1 John 3: 1-11 ( 6-7 ) Whosoever abideth in Him Sinneth not: whosoever Sinneth hath not seen Him neither known Him. Little Children, let no man deceive you, he that doeth Righteousness is Righteous even as He is Righteous.

    1 John 2:4-6 He that saith I know Him and keepeth not His Commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His word in him verily is the Love of God perfected hereby know we that we are in Him. He that saith he bideth in Him ought himself also so to walk even as He walked.

    Luke 6:45-46 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

    Colossians 3:4-6 When Christ who is your life appears then you also will appear with Him in glory. Put to death therefore whatever belongs to your earthly nature sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed which is idolatry. Because of these the wrath of God is coming.

    2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises dearly beloved let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit Perfecting Holiness in the fear of God.

    Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto Sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Romans 6 : 1 – 2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in Sin that Grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we that are dead to Sin live any longer therein?

    1 Peter 1:21-23 Being Born again not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible by the Word of God which liveth and abideth for ever.

    Romans 8: 8 There is therefore now no Condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    Romans 8 :12-15 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation but it is not to the Sinful nature to live according to it or if you live according to the Sinful nature you will die but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body you will live because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

    Romans 6:5-7 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him that the body of Sin might be destroyed that henceforth we should not serve Sin. For he that is dead is freed from Sin.

    Romans 6:22-23 But now being made free from Sin and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness and the end everlasting life. For the wages of Sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    1 John 4:17-19 Herein is our Love made Perfect that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is so are we in this World. There is no fear in Love but Perfect Love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made Perfect in Love. We Love Him, because He first Loved us.

    1 Peter 2:24 Who His own self bare our Sins in His own body on the tree that we being dead to Sins should live unto Righteousness by whose stripes ye were healed.

    Ephesians 4:23-24 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind And that ye put on the new man which after God is created in Righteousness and True Holiness.

    Colossians 1:27-29 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles which is Christ in you the hope of glory Whom we preach warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man Perfect in Christ Jesus Where unto I also labour, striving according to His working which worketh in me mightily(KJV)

    Titus 2:13-15 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto Himself a peculiar people zealous of good works. These things speak and exhort and rebuke with all Authority. Let no man despise thee.

    Daniel 12:10 Many shall be Purified and made white and tried but the wicked shall do wickedly and none of the wicked shall understand but the wise shall understand.

    “Christ”ian Love Always – Anne.

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    • Anne… Great scriptures to share! Thank you. One thing you said jumped out at me, “not perfected fully.” As growing Christians, we are being “perfected” daily. We are quicker to recognize sin, ask for forgiveness and to avoid that sin in the future. It is a process of refining (dying to self and to sin) backed and completed by the power of the Holy Spirit. Anne, I am blessed that we are growing in our faith through our friendship!

      2 Corinthians 3:18 – “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
      2 Corinthians 4:11 – “For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.”
      Colossians 2:6-7 – “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

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      • Very True Debbie, we work out our Salvation not meaning work for it and when we are Perfected in Love and Born Again we will no longer Sin and that is on earth not just when we die as the Scriptures in my first Comment confirm

        Do not be deceived Debbie, those who Sin without True Heart Repentance which means turning away from evil and doing good, will never enter The Kingdom of God but until we are Perfected in Love if we do Sin but Repent, Jesus is our Advocate and we will be forgiven but if we keep on Sinning we have never had True Heart Repentance.

        But Thankfully we also remember that God knows those who are His and we will all be conformed into the image of Jesus who does not Sin or He would not have chosen us, yes as He tells us not one of us will be lost…. How good is that!.

        Blessings – Anne.

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  3. The thing that works for me it to remind myself not to judge others. Hard to do and if I don’t feel well or I’m tired, I am completely capable of a judgemental thought. Later, I think that person may have had a rough life or have one of a million other reasons for their current situation. I really, really admire you, not many people can look as clearly at themselves as you do. That is a very nice trait!
    Ginene

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    • Ginene… Thanks for the tip! To love others and to not judge can be work! It is easier to simply make assumptions and judge people. The older I get, I realize that I don’t want to spend my time judging others. I would rather enjoy relationships! Everyone has a story of pain and struggle whether it is out front or hidden behind a mask. (I am still a work in progress! Thanks for your encouragement. :))

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  4. George Petras

    I would counter that you live in the real world, but more kindly than most of us. You were unexpectedly hit with two pieces of extreme rudeness — both were appalling and the bagger’s was mystifying, but maybe he/she was having a hard day and took part of it out on you. (Which is not an excuse.)

    So even though your smile was backed by an attitude, as you say, you handled it better than most of us. I would have been inclined to push back, which would not have helped.

    There’s a quote from Emerson I like: “Ever in the strife of your own thoughts, obey the nobler instinct.” Maybe that’s one way of dealing with the real world.

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    • George… I really like that quote by Emerson. I think we will recognize the “nobler instinct” because it will be the one that requires more (effort, self-control, sacrifice, etc.) of us to follow! 🙂

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