All of my best friends are sinners
by John Fischer FROM THE DAILY DEVOTIONAL I GET FROM
THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE. (This was so well-said I just had to share it!)
"All of my best friends are sinners. I don't mean that I hang out with really bad people. I mean this as a way of looking at everybody, starting with myself.
When Jesus told us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, it was a way of making us ultimately face into the reality of our own need. How we love others is dependent on how we love ourselves, and self-love has to take into account failure and sin, because we know ourselves better than anybody. We can try to cover up the bad stuff about ourselves, but that only disconnects us from the truth and makes us hypocrites, unable to love because we cannot love ourselves as we truly are.
The only kind of love hypocrites can have is a prejudiced love. Like the Pharisees in Jesus’ day who loved other Pharisees and condemned everyone else, when we are being hypocritical, we can't help but love those who are like us and abhor everyone who is not.
“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.” (1 Timothy 1:15) When Paul says this, he puts himself in a position to get next to anyone. You can greet all of humanity with open arms from the perspective of knowing intimately your own sin and failure. “Over there are the sinners of the world for whom Christ died … hey, that's my group!”
A recovering alcoholic is still an alcoholic; he's just recovering from alcohol's influence over him in the company of others willing to do the same thing, so they can all be an encouragement to each other and accountable for their actions. That's the thing that's always been appealing to me about recovery groups. They are all about love and acceptance at the lowest level, and that is what we all need. These people are admitting that they have ruined their lives and are ruining the lives of their loved ones, and they are suddenly among friends who understand everything about that.
When you are trying to believe a lie about yourself, you can only accept those who have committed themselves to perpetuating the lie along with you and are sworn to secrecy about their own hidden sin as a form of mutual self-preservation. But it's all a game and we know it. How refreshing it is to come clean – to bring your life out into the open and be forgiven by God and join the rest of the human race for which Christ died.
Everything and everyone looks different once you have done this. And it doesn't matter if someone else is a Christian or not. Either way that person is still someone for whom Christ died, and therefore someone you can embrace. And why not, since all your best friends are sinners anyway!"