Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Unsafe people

Today, the book, Safe People, is on sale at Amazon. I read the free sample. One sentence sums it up rather well: “While there are many different kinds of unsafe people, many of them fall under three categories: the abandoners, the critics, and the irresponsibles.”

This morning my Bible reading was Matthew 25. This made for some interesting parallels.

Chapter 25 opens with the story of the 10 virgins awaiting the bridesmaid. Five of them were prepared with extra oil, and the other five were not. Perhaps one could say the latter five would fit into the “irresponsibles” category.

People who set standards for others to meet in relationships have some inherent challenges. I've heard someone recommend judging people by how much they talk about themselves vs. how much they talk about others.

While these man-made principles may sound like good advice, I still have a question: Would the people we read about in the Bible pass these tests?

I don't think Paul would pass the not-talking-about-himself test. He frequently refers to himself. His letters would probably fail an “I” word count test with an excessively high score.

If we judge people by who their friends are, then Jesus fails this test. He was accused of bad associations by eating with tax collectors and sinners and being their friend (Matthew 9:11; 11:19; Mark 2:16; Luke 5:30; Luke 7:34).

Jesus doesn't stop at befriending law enforcement. He wants us to befriend lawbreakers, too. Matthew 25 ends with Jesus talking about His return, and He specifically mentions us visiting those in prison as how He feels we treat Him.

People in prison are quite possibly the most “unsafe” people of all. 

The Good News of Jesus teaches us that we're all unsafe.

We all have a tendency to abandon when things get tough or uncomfortable.

We can all criticize people who don't meet standards that we don't meet either.

We all have times when we fail to meet our responsibilities.

We all sin against God and each other.

The answer is not to set standards for relationships that no one meets.

The answer is to learn how to love one another: be patient, confess sin, accept responsibility, forgive.

God's grace is sufficient to handle however unsafe anyone in our lives may be.

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