A while back Jeremy wrote:
If the church wants to join God in storming the gates of hell, in defeating the darkness … We must find the mean places, the dark places, the dangerous places, and take the church there. We must go to the greedy, the liars, the cheats, the thieves, and show them generosity, truth, and honesty. We must find the places that even the cops won’t go, and go there with Jesus instead. Where do the most murders occur? Where do the addicts and prostitutes hang out? Let’s meet there.
Why Don’t We Enter the Darkness?
Most of us are afraid.
We’re afraid that we’ll be harmed physically.
We’re afraid we’ll catch a disease.
We’re afraid we’ll get dirty.
We afraid we’ll be robbed.
We’re afraid people will want our money or our stuff.
We’re afraid that somehow “those people” will break through the walls we’ve built around us, tug at our heart strings, and we’ll end up giving them our money, stuff and time.
We’re afraid we’ll be contaminated by their sin.
We’re afraid we’ll stop seeing their sin and start seeing them.
We’re afraid we might start loving them, sin and all, but we think we’re supposed to hate their sin.
We’re afraid we might learn to like them.
We’re afraid we might remember that Jesus loves them, but it is our arms Jesus uses to wrap around them.
Why Do We Think They Will Come to the Light?
My wife and I had moved. We visited a church service at a local church. One of the men confronted me at the front door. “We believe men should wear suits and ties to church to show respect to God.” I wasn’t wearing a suit and tie. I told him I didn’t believe that way, and went in anyway.
At another church, an elder told me, “We don’t want people attending here until they get themselves cleaned up. We don’t want couples coming here who are living together but aren’t married. We only want good Christian people here.”
Why would anyone want to “come” to church if those are the attitudes they find? The people who most need to hear won’t come near. We make certain of that. Why would anyone have even the slightest interest in going any place where they know they won’t be accepted?
What’s The Answer?
Jeremy’s answer is simple. “We must go” to them — to the adulterers, prostitutes, thieves, tax collectors, Gentiles, sick, needy, poor, greedy, selfish, and to all who dwell in darkness.”
It is safer, warmer, less-threatening and more comfortable to keep our distance from those who dwell in darkness. But if we really do follow Jesus, if Jesus really is our Good Shepherd, need we fear evil? Is Jesus with us or not?
Perhaps the question I must really ask myself is “Am I with Him?”
If I’m with Him, I don’t need to be afraid of the darkness. So go with the sinners are. Don’t be afraid. Jesus will go with you.
So don’t be afraid of the dark. When you’re with Jesus, no sin can harm you.