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Wednesday
Jan302013

Homeless: A Parable of Love

“Then a leper appeared and went to his knees before Jesus, praying, “Master, if you want to you can heal my body.”Jesus reached out and touched him, saying, “I want to. Be clean.”--Matthew 8:2, 3 –The Message Bible
On a cold December night there is a homeless man living on the streets. He clearly bears in his body the tell
tale symptoms of aids. He has lesions on his face and neck. This once handsome man is wasting away to nothing from the marching destructive army within his body. It wasn’t that the hospital couldn’t help him, he just had no insurance and the treatment of aids is costly and they can only treat so many “charity” cases. Because of his disease he isn’t welcome in the shelters; the churches want nothing to do with him because he was a known homosexual. So, he finds himself on this freezing cold night by the dumpster of an upscale Mexican restaurant. At least he can eat the scraps that have been thrown away. Using the empty boxes from the produce that had been delivered to the restaurant as a blanket, he attempts to sleep. Pneumonia has begun to set it and he fears this night could be his last.
Shivering so violently he lays there wishing that the church or someone from it would have acted like the Jesus they proclaim. He remembers last Christmas, when he had first been informed of his disease. His partner had erupted in anger at him just a few weeks before and demanded that he pack his stuff and leave. He stumbled into a church. The preacher preached a message of hope and forgiveness. Afterwards he went to the Pastor expecting acceptance, instead he discovered that homosexuality is the unpardonable sin. He was asked to leave by the very Pastor who only a few minutes before was preaching forgiveness. Maybe the preacher was right, maybe death was what he deserved, and after all he had been so vile.
At that moment Jesus’ the manager of the restaurant opens the back door to leave for the night. Knowing he had been seen, he begs Jesus’ not to call the Police, “I will be gone by morning”, he begs. To his surprise he was treated with kindness and respect. “Sir”, Jesus said with a Mexican accent, “You don’t look to good, can I help you?” Stunned by kindness the man felt compelled to tell Jesus his story. Jesus’ had taken him into the restaurant and while he talked, made him a cup of coffee. Jesus’ was such a kind man, soft spoken but obviously confident. (Such confidence is a rare thing and it had served him well in the restaurant business.) Suddenly, he fell silent, looked at Jesus’ and realized that he was not at all an ordinary man. In fact, if he’d been a carpenter he could be just like the “real Jesus” he had read about. Suddenly unable to hold himself back he made that very comment. He was so overcome by the kindness he had experienced that he burst out with a statement that he couldn’t contain, “I believe that if you want to could heal my body.” Jesus’ did exactly as you guessed: He reached out, prayed to The Father in Jesus name and the man was healed! Jesus didn’t deal directly with the sins of the man, but his former desires left as he had experienced “new life” and it now flowed through his now healed body.
“You detestable sinner”, these words never crossed the lips of Jesus as he preached to the masses of His day. He didn’t look at the outcast leper, living outside his village because of his terminal illness and say, “Dude, death is what you deserve, and of course I am un-willing to heal you”. He did have a problem with the business of religion, but the downtrodden outcast, thieves, women of questionable morals, fishermen, enemy soldiers, even IRS agents they were who he was sent for. He didn’t turn them away then, and he doesn’t today. (Religious leaders are still a hurdle though.)
What is it with us, that we preach, “What would Jesus do?”, and then condemn the teenage guy who is struggling with thoughts that are natural and normal. Then when he progresses to a problem with pornography we label him as a pervert and abandon him, NO condemn him to hell. Is it any wonder the world hates religion.
According to my own interpretation of Galatians 5:22 the fruit of the Spirit is: Love. The other “fruits” are the natural outflow of a life flowing with the love that 1 John says God is.
“Legalism is helpless in bringing this about, it only gets in the way”.—Galatians 5:23 The Message Bible
If we would realize that the leper of Matthew chapter eight is us without Christ we would be more understanding of others in the face of horrible situations, or horrible sin. I chose the Mexican name of Jesus in the parable above as a means of stating the obvious: That we are to be the face of the invisible God to the world around us. Not the stuffy, pious, judgmental, people that we are known to be.
Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, these are attributes of a life committed to following Jesus. Am I there yet? Why don’t you ask the clerk that told me I had to prepay for my gas in Arkansas a few weeks ago. I think it’s time we stretch ourselves a bit and look at our pet sins the way our Father does: Through the blood of His Son. When we do that compassion flows naturally from us and confidence grows as condemnation of ourselves and others disappear. “…I will, be clean” accept those powerful words and your life can begin to change. Apply them to the world around you and see it begin to change.

Homeless:A ParableBy Bob Heath

“Then a leper appeared and went to his knees before Jesus, praying, “Master, if you want to you can heal my body.”Jesus reached out and touched him, saying, “I want to. Be clean.”Matthew 8:2, 3 –The Message Bible

On a cold December night there is a homeless man living on the streets. He clearly bears in his body the tell tale symptoms of aids. He has lesions on his face and neck. This once handsome man is wasting away to nothing from the marching destructive army within his body. It wasn’t that the hospital couldn’t help him, he just had no insurance and the treatment of aids is costly and they can only treat so many “charity” cases. Because of his disease he isn’t welcome in the shelters; the churches want nothing to do with him because he was a known homosexual. So, he finds himself on this freezing cold night by the dumpster of an upscale Mexican restaurant. At least he can eat the scraps that have been thrown away. Using the empty boxes from the produce that had been delivered to the restaurant as a blanket, he attempts to sleep. Pneumonia has begun to set it and he fears this night could be his last.
Shivering so violently he lays there wishing that the church or someone from it would have acted like the Jesus they proclaim. He remembers last Christmas, when he had first been informed of his disease. His partner had erupted in anger at him just a few weeks before and demanded that he pack his stuff and leave. He stumbled into a church. The preacher preached a message of hope and forgiveness. Afterwards he went to the Pastor expecting acceptance, instead he discovered that homosexuality is the unpardonable sin. He was asked to leave by the very Pastor who only a few minutes before was preaching forgiveness. Maybe the preacher was right, maybe death was what he deserved, and after all he had been so vile.
At that moment Jesus’ the manager of the restaurant opens the back door to leave for the night. Knowing he had been seen, he begs Jesus’ not to call the Police, “I will be gone by morning”, he begs. To his surprise he was treated with kindness and respect. “Sir”, Jesus said with a Mexican accent, “You don’t look to good, can I help you?” Stunned by kindness the man felt compelled to tell Jesus his story. Jesus’ had taken him into the restaurant and while he talked, made him a cup of coffee. Jesus’ was such a kind man, soft spoken but obviously confident. (Such confidence is a rare thing and it had served him well in the restaurant business.) Suddenly, he fell silent, looked at Jesus’ and realized that he was not at all an ordinary man. In fact, if he’d been a carpenter he could be just like the “real Jesus” he had read about. Suddenly unable to hold himself back he made that very comment. He was so overcome by the kindness he had experienced that he burst out with a statement that he couldn’t contain, “I believe that if you want to could heal my body.” Jesus’ did exactly as you guessed: He reached out, prayed to The Father in Jesus name and the man was healed! Jesus didn’t deal directly with the sins of the man, but his former desires left as he had experienced “new life” and it now flowed through his now healed body.
“You detestable sinner”, these words never crossed the lips of Jesus as he preached to the masses of His day. He didn’t look at the outcast leper, living outside his village because of his terminal illness and say, “Dude, death is what you deserve, and of course I am un-willing to heal you”. He did have a problem with the business of religion, but the downtrodden outcast, thieves, women of questionable morals, fishermen, enemy soldiers, even IRS agents they were who he was sent for. He didn’t turn them away then, and he doesn’t today. (Religious leaders are still a hurdle though.)
What is it with us, that we preach, “What would Jesus do?”, and then condemn the teenage guy who is struggling with thoughts that are natural and normal. Then when he progresses to a problem with pornography we label him as a pervert and abandon him, NO condemn him to hell. Is it any wonder the world hates religion.
According to my own interpretation of Galatians 5:22 the fruit of the Spirit is: Love. The other “fruits” are the natural outflow of a life flowing with the love that 1 John says God is.
“Legalism is helpless in bringing this about, it only gets in the way”.—Galatians 5:23 The Message Bible
If we would realize that the leper of Matthew chapter eight is us without Christ we would be more understanding of others in the face of horrible situations, or horrible sin. I chose the Mexican name of Jesus in the parable above as a means of stating the obvious: That we are to be the face of the invisible God to the world around us. Not the stuffy, pious, judgmental, people that we are known to be.
Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, these are attributes of a life committed to following Jesus. Am I there yet? Why don’t you ask the clerk that told me I had to prepay for my gas in Arkansas a few weeks ago. I think it’s time we stretch ourselves a bit and look at our pet sins the way our Father does: Through the blood of His Son. When we do that compassion flows naturally from us and confidence grows as condemnation of ourselves and others disappear. “…I will, be clean” accept those powerful words and your life can begin to change. Apply them to the world around you and see it begin to change.

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