Which way should sinners run?

A friend recently told me a story that has left an impression on me. In this story, the question is raised about the direction sinners should run. This story demonstrated how people ran to Jesus, put people now tend to run from Jesus’ people, ultimately from Jesus. Why? It seems to me the reason centers on our (my) general lack of love for the sinner.

I am convinced we (I) struggle with categorizing certain sins as more sinful than others. We categorize people as more sinful than this person, all ultimately because we cannot but help viewing ourselves as if we are inherently better than everyone. The biblical reality would have something different to say. Ephesians 2 describes how all people in all places at all times are born spiritually dead. How one person could think themselves better than another when ultimately both are spiritual cadeavors is wild. And yet, I do it. More times than I’d like to admit, I find myself looking down my nose at this person because of this struggle, or that person because of that natural bent. I fail to see myself as I really am. Apart from the grace of God (something I did not earn, nor do I deserve, but am given freely by His grace for His glory and my good), I am no different than any sinner. Pick ’em. No different. With every sin being an outworking of pride and rebellion, can I really say that I’m better in any way because my pride causes this “natural” sin and yours causes an “unnatural” sin. If I read my Bible properly, isn’t my sin “unnatural.” Sure, sin is “natural” to the sinner, but wasn’t all of humanity created to glorify God? And if this is so, isn’t my “natural” bent of glorifying self actually “unnatural”? I think so.

Why does this matter? If people are going to run to the church, the church (myself included) will have need to stop seeing ourselves as spiritual giants. We’ll need to see ourselves as we are, which is absolutely nothing outside of Jesus Christ. Seeing ourselves this way will help humble us so that we do not act superior to a sinner who comes our direction. After all, the only thing different between the two is not something the person does; rather, the only thing different is something Christ has done, and can do for that person.

Which way should sinners run? Hopefully, they will run to me (and the rest of the church) because when they do, they won’t find us looking down our noses. Rather, they’ll look down at us washing feet and loving those whom Christ loved/loves. I need the Holy Spirit desperately to do this. Naturally, I’m prideful. I’ll think highly of myself. Yet, the gospel speaks emphatically against such a position. I should have the mind of Christ (Phil. 2), not the mind of man. Lord, help me.

“Gracious Spirit, dwell with me:
I myself would gracious be,
and with words that help and heal,
would thy life in mine reveal,
and, with actions bold and meek,
would for Christ my Savior speak.

Truthful Spirit, dwell with me:
I myself would truthful be.
and with wisdom kind and clear,
let thy life in mine appear,
and, with actions lovingly,
mirror Christ’s sincerity.” – Thomas T. Lynch (1855)


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