Would You Love the Outcasts?
Jesus travelled along the border between Samaria and Galilee and encountered 10 men with leprosy. Their bodies were transformed, and their lives changed.
To bestow mercy on a Canaanite woman and her demon-possessed daughter, Jesus deliberately travelled to Tyre and Sidon, both gentile cities. Based on her ancestry, the Canaanite woman was an enemy of Israel.
Every time one reads about Jesus' deeds in the Bible, it seems that He is resetting boundaries and giving marginalized people—those who are rejected by society—a sense of dignity and worth.
He called the woman with a bleeding issue, “daughter”. He raised the spiritual status of a woman who had a disabling spirit to that of her male counterparts, by calling her “daughter of Abraham”.
Jesus' message humanized the underprivileged and the poor, revealed God's incredible concern for their welfare and condemned those who chose to ignore or disqualify them. He did not show contempt for the centurion’s (a Roman agent, oppressor of the Jews) request for the healing of his dying servant.
Jesus had a mission that transcended racial prejudice, economic status, gender, and other artificial classifications between the race groups. He came for everyone. He served all. He also exhorts us to follow suit.
Would you love the outcasts, as Jesus did?
The ability to love those who are different from us presents a challenge for Christ-followers. In this task, we are to serve as Jesus' hands and feet by sharing His love with the poor, offering consolation to the grieving, proclaiming freedom to those who are captive by their choices, and showing them the way.
To commence with the task, we need to step out beyond the borders, beyond our comfort zones. We need to go where the destitute, the outsider, the rejected, the lost, and the hopeless are found.
Recently, one brave daughter of Jesus who prefers not to be identified did just that. One of her initiatives was to reach out to prostitutes and trafficked women in an Indian city. She and her team set out at night-time in the pouring rain into one of the red-light areas, to reach out and connect with these women.
This is what she had to say: “It breaks my heart to see women held in captivity and those who sell their bodies away to earn an income. We were able to reach out to these women in (an Indian city) a couple of weeks ago. As we talked with them, loved on them, and prayed over them, we saw how some encountered the radical love of Jesus”.
She further made a call out by saying, “I would encourage and implore all believers to prioritize doing outreaches like this; because these women are worth treasuring and loving, not only by the God who will never forget them but also by the body of Christ which could love them with the 2nd greatest commandment - 'to love your neighbour as yourself'.”
What a powerful call!
The entire church is called to act the same way as this courageous, selfless daughter of Jesus did. We are required to carry out missions like these. And in order to transform a brief encounter with Jesus into a lifetime relationship with Jesus for each person reached, outreach efforts must be supported by a proper restoration programme by the church.
Dear Christ Follower, you’re called to love the outcast. Would you? Would you be ready to step out of your comfort zone and love as Jesus did?