Get your hands dirty

The Covington News - - RELIGION - Dr. Wil­liam Burn­ham is pas­tor of Point of Grace Church in Cov­ing­ton. He can be reached at burn­hamw@char­ter.net.

Could a doc­tor treat a pa­tient with­out ever ex­am­in­ing them? hem? Not very well. Could a hair dresser cut or style hair with­out touch­ing the client’s hair? No. In the same man­ner nei­ther can Chris­tians be of very much in­flu­ence if we don’t go to and touch sin­ners. I know many have come from places in their lives they don’t ever want to go back to and this cer­tainly takes some sen­si­tiv­ity and dis­cern­ment. But nei­ther can we iso­late our­selves from all sin­ners once we be­come a Chris­tian and still be an ef­fec­tive wit­ness. Je­sus’ model of evan­ge­lism is, He went where the sin­ners were. In fact He was even ac­cused hang­ing out with them. “But the Pharisees and the teach­ers of the law who be­longed to their sect com­plained to his dis­ci­ples, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax col­lec­tors and ‘sin­ners’?” (Lk 5:30) There is a risk we must take in get­ting our hands dirty and min­gling with the sin­ners in order to be peo­ple of grace and share the love of God through the gospel. You may be crit­i­cized for your will­ing­ness to move closer. You must be care­ful and sen­si­ble about what you can do and where you can go. But a cou­ple things are for sure: We are not go­ing to reach any­one with­out reach­ing out to them. And we do need to find new ways to re­late to them, just as medicine would not be very ef­fec­tive if we only used hun­dreds-of-year-old meth­ods, nei­ther will we be ef­fec­tive be­ing rigid in our ap­proach. We never change our mes­sage – but like Je­sus, we are al­ways chang­ing our meth­ods; af­ter all the goal is to reach the lost.

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