The Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:30-32)
ALLOWING GOD TO SHINE A LIGHT ON US
We humans seem to have an unlimited capacity for finding fault with others. Our ability to see the faults and weaknesses within ourselves is not usually as well-developed.
Jesus says to the complaining and critical Pharisees and scribes - probably his most consistent adversaries - “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Verses 31-32, above) The people who flocked to the Son of Man/Son of God the fastest were the lame, the possessed, the tax collectors, the blind, the deaf - the outcasts, the shunned, the lost... the outsiders, the “sinners”. They knew, without question, of their need for God.
It was mostly the religious and righteous (read: self-righteous) people who found fault with Jesus. Most of the other folks were soaking up his words and his healing powers -every chance they could.
A huge percentage of the transformation that has happened in my life - all of it originating in God, by the way - has occurred when I have had enough faith or courage (or both) to take a look at my life and see what isn’t going very well... where I am empty or dead, where I need help with breaking habits or patterns that hold me back from living the kind of life that God wants me to live. If you and I pause long enough to allow God’s light to shine on us and in us, then God will do two things for us: 1) help us see what we need to see about ourselves, and 2) heal us with His healing light!
I think it is really great news that Jesus came to call sinners to repentance. Of course, I can only see that as great news if I number myself among the sinners! I can, because God - or we could say “grace” or the Holy Spirit or Christ - reveals to me the ways that I miss the mark in my relationships with God, others, myself, and the earth. We can’t repent - we can’t be converted to Christ and radically change our lives - until we first become aware of the things in us that need conversion.
God didn’t put us on this earth to find fault with others. God put us on this earth to learn how to love. As we make that pilgrimage with Christ in learning how to love, God shows us things about ourselves. The Great Physician says, in different ways, “Look at this, Peter. This needs attention.”
We can never hear that message if we are spending most of our time focusing on what is wrong with the people around us. For that matter, we can never hear how much God loves us if we spend most of our time focused on what is wrong with others - or even most of our time focused on what is wrong with ourselves!