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For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. Matthew 7:2 (NLT)

One of the men I admire most was my uncle Bernard. Uncle Bernie was a quiet man with a generous heart. In all the years I knew him I never once heard him raise his voice or say a negative word about anyone. He was soft-spoken, gentle at heart and generous. He didn’t have a large house although he had money, his home was modestly comfortable. Uncle Bernie died in the same way he lived, quietly falling asleep as he listened to his favorite baseball team on the radio.

Uncle Bernie has been gone a long time but his testimony lives on in my mind because he was probably the most non-judgmental man I know, next to Jesus. I don’t remember enough about Bernie to know what made him tick; what it was that made him so accepting of other people, but that part doesn’t really matter. What matters is that he was a man who knew Jesus and showed Jesus love in how he treated others.

Jesus taught us not to judge others. He showed us acceptance of other lifestyles when he reached out to the woman caught red-handed having sex with another woman’s husband by telling her she wasn’t condemned, even though she deserved death.

He showed how to accept people when he made a point to stop at a well so he could meet up with a woman who’d failed five times at marriage and finally decided to ‘shack up’ with man number six rather than go through the whole marriage/divorce cycle. She was so ashamed she went to the well when she ‘knew’ she’d be alone. But Jesus met her at her most lonely time in the loneliest place because he accepted her even though he couldn’t tolerate her lifestyle.

If Jesus were here today I think he’d visit people you and I avoid like the plague. The person living the gay lifestyle would find a friend in Jesus. The imposter who lives behind a disguise of religion while they battle with drugs, alcohol or pornography would feel his touch. The abusive father or stepmother, the guy with at tendency for road rage, the vindictive gossip. All can find acceptance and healing when they come to Jesus.

Jesus doesn’t ask us to accept those different than us, he requires it. Through the power of his Holy Spirit I can find the strength to accept those who make a mockery of my faith. Because of his nail scarred hands I can find acceptance and healing in the midst of my struggle with sin. I want to be like him. I want to show his love like my uncle Bernie did.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I see in scripture how you have reached to others. I ask that you would do a work in my soul. Forgive me and heal me of the struggles I’m enduring. Empower me to live for you and to reach out to those around me. Help me to accept those who mistreat me, drag your name through the mud and mock your name. I pray this in your name, Amen.


Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Matthew 8:3

In Jesus’ day the most socially outcast person around was the leper. The disease itself was repulsive. As it progressed it ate away at the victim’s skin leaving stubs for fingers and toes and the stench of rotting flesh. To add to the burden of the disease was the notion that leprosy was an act of God because of sin. The result? A leper was socially, physically and spiritually outcast. No one would come near a leper if his life depended on it.

Matthew tells us that as Jesus came down from the mountain a crowd gathered to meet him. In the midst of the crowd a leper came face to face with Jesus and bowed before him. I can imagine the scene. The crowd parted like the Red Sea to permit this vulgar looking, smelly man through. It wasn’t their concern for his well-being that caused them to make a straight path. They were repulsed by the stench and appearance of this man.

We see no adverse reaction on Jesus’ part. The Bible says the man came and knelt before the Savior. He had not doubt Jesus COULD heal him. The question nagging him was if Jesus WOULD heal him.

We may not be lepers. We may not be socially outcast. In fact, we may be socially outstanding persons and spiritually respected. Regardless of our position in society, each of us have the same need. The need to experience the touch of Jesus. Each of us, as it were, are spiritual lepers with a disease called sin that slowly eats away at us. The only thing that can bring life to our spiritually decrepit body is Jesus touch.

As with the leper, Jesus is more than willing to reach out and touch us. He is more than able to cleanse us from the sin we bear. It’s not important how we got to the place on the journey. It’s not important if it was our fault or the fault of someone else. What’s important is that we receive the healing touch only Jesus can give.

There’s another part to this story that we often overlook. While we may not have the opportunity to heal those around us from physical disease, each of us, as Christ-followers, can touch those around us with the love of Jesus. The effect of physical touch is healing in and of itself. A hand on the shoulder, a hug discreetly given, a firm and compassionate handshake can do wonders for the soul.

Accept the touch of Jesus for yourself and experience his healing. Pass that touch of Jesus’ love to those around you who are in need of a physical reminder that Jesus loves them. Your touch may be the very thing they need for their own healing. Don’t let their ‘leprosy’ keep you from showing them Jesus love.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I thank and praise you for the healing touch you have given me when I’m so undeserving of it. Help me to show your love to those around me that are in need of your touch as well. In your name, Amen.

 

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