Timidity

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”
“This man receiveth sinners.” — Luke xv. 2.

The ironical taunt of proud, and cunning censorious Pharisees formed the glory of him who came “not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Publicans and outcasts ; those covered with a deeper than any bodily leprosy — laid bare their wounds to the ” Great Physician ; ” and as conscious guilt and timid penitence crept abashed and imploring to His feet, they found nothing but a forgiving and a gracious welcome !

“His ways” were not as “man’s ways!” The “watchmen,” in the Canticles, ” smote ” the disconsolate one seeking her lost Lord ; they tore off her veil, mocking with chilling unkindness her anguished tears. Not so “the Chief Shepherd and Bishop of souls.” “This man receiveth sinners!” See at Nicodemus, stealing under the shadows of night to elude observation — type of the thousand thousand who in every age have gone trembling in their night of sin and sorrow to this Heavenly Friend! Does Jesus punish his timidity by shutting His door against him, spurning him from his presence ? — “He will not break the bruised reed, He will not quench the smoking flax!”

And He is still the same ! He who arrested a persecutor in his blasphemies, and tuned the lips of an expiring felon with faith and love, is at this hour standing with all the garnered treasures of Redemption in His hand, proclaiming, “Him that cometh unto Me, I will in no wise cast out!”

Are we from this to think lightly of sin? or by example and conduct to palliate and overlook its enormity ? Not so: sin, as sin can never be sufficiently stamped with the brand of reprobation.

But we must seek carefully to distinguish between the offence and the offender. Nothing should be done on our part by word or deed to mock the penitential sighings of a guilty spirit, or send the trembling outcast away, with the despairing feeling of “No hope ” This man receiveth sinners,” and shall not we? Does He suffer the veriest dregs of human depravity to crouch unbidden at His feet, and to gaze on His forgiving countenance with the uplifted eye of hope, and shall we dare to deal out harsh, and severe, and crushing verdicts on an offending (it may be a deeply offending) brother ? Shall we pronounce “crimson” and “scarlet” sins and sinners beyond the pale of mercy, when Jesus does not?

John Macduff, “25th Morning,” The mind and words of Jesus; and The faithful promiser

This quote is from a devotional book by John Ross Macduff, a 19th century Scottish preacher.

Too often, Christianity is like the weight room of a high school. The powerful and strong mock the weak.  If you yourself are a weakling, the last place you’ll want to hang out is in the weight room, even though that is the place you should in theory be going to get stronger.  Macduff will have none of this.  Those timid about their spiritual state are to be the most welcome.  The man who secretly approached Jesus at night, Nicodemus was openly welcomed, because Jesus receives sinners. And those with openly deadly diseases. And the veriest dregs of human depravity. Do you want these kinds of people at your church? What does your church look like?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, let us seek out the sick and outcast. Let those who are the most timid about their scarlet sins, lete the veriest dregs of human depravity, seek us out and know Your welcome. AMEN.

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