Try not to contort your face

Try not to contort your face

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I was recently in a Bible study group that was talking about one of the gospels. As we were discussing the character of Jesus, I asked, “How would we respond if a prostitute walked into our church on a Sunday morning?” I was curious to hear the responses, because we don’t often acknowledge the tension that exists between what we “think” we would do and what we “actually” do. In response, one of the students said, “We would probably be disgusted.” And, I think that’s a fair assessment.
The prostitute walking through the doors of our church would look out of place. She wouldn’t be dressed “appropriately” and she probably wouldn’t know anyone. When people would see her I’m not sure why would be able to keep their faces from contorting into a disgusted look. I’m fairly certain that it would catch me off-guard. How would you respond?
I’m reminded of John 8, in which the woman caught in adultery is forgiven by Jesus. It amazes me that Jesus doesn’t spend time beating her down over her sin. In fact, He quickly acknowledges her sin and then offers her a new direction for life. That’s it.
Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
I wonder to what extent we encourage people to leave their life of sin and move on in Jesus. I think our face probably says it all. We act surprised when people bring their sin to church, as if we’ve never done anything wrong. The look on our face probably says, “What on earth are you doing here?” But…isn’t “here” (at the church) the best place to point them toward Jesus?
I think we should consider the faces that we give to people. I’m not asking or suggesting that you be dishonest with your face. Instead, I’m asking you to think about the face that you give to people when they do something that displeases, disappoints or disgusts you. When you give that face, is it your prerogative to give it? How else can you use your face for others? Can you encourage them with it? Can you set them at ease with it? Can you mirror Jesus’ love and convictions with it?
People are going to walk through our doors. Some will agree with us and some with disappoint us. Try not to contort your face.