Years ago, my wife and I stayed in a Howard Johnson Inn while vacationing in Florida. As I was walking down the hallway, I past their lounge. I wasn’t particularly surprised that they had a lounge but what did surprise me was the lounge’s name: Saints/Sinners. Being a Christ-follower, I was taken back that “Saints” would be used in reference to a bar. I have pondered that name often but as I was reading the Gospels, that name came back to me.
I guess the name first caught my attention because of the vast contrast between the two names; they are total opposites of each other. Nowhere is that seen more clearly than the attitude of the “saints” and the sinners” of Jesus’ day. No “saint” would ever associate with “sinners” and that was one of the reasons that Jesus was hated by the religious establishment. Jesus not only associated with THEM but He went into THEIR homes and even shared a meal with THEM.
Before we start throwing stones, have you ever been at a party and felt uncomfortable around certain people? We tend to associate with people like US, don’t we? You can almost see the separation in the room between THEM and US. I can visit a church and almost point out to you one of THEM. THEM will often sit by THEM-selves and you can often see they are uncomfortable being in the presence of so many of US.
What are we to do? The “US” must take the first step in tearing down the walls that separate US and THEM. Ask if they would mind if you sat with them during the worship service. Purposely start a conversation with that person that is being overlooked at the party. Invite one of THEM to go with you to a ballgame with you. (You paying for their ticket of course!)
Let’s US do everything possible to make THEM one of US!