"NO WAY!" "Well, O.K…."

“Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.  The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go.” but later he changed his mind and went anyway.  Then the father told the other son, ‘you go,’ and he said ‘yes, sir, I will.’  But he didn’t go.  Which of the two obeyed his father?”  They replied, “The first,”  Then Jesus explained His meaning.  “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do.”  Matthew 21:28-31

We human beings tend to look at the outside of a person to make an assessment of another person’s attitudes and motives – or what we would call ‘the heart.”  I’m so thankful that we have a heavenly Father that sees far deeper to the inner core of our being, knows us in intimate detail and truly “sees our hearts.”

Jesus in the above passage was addressing some religious leaders.  These leaders were strict, legalistic, and did much of their pious works for show and attention.  Jesus saw right through them.  While they may not have engaged in what we would consider “big sins,” their pride and arrogance was offensive to God.
Jesus had an overwhelming compassion and desire to reach out to those who “had really blown it” in life.  In the people who were regarded the least in society – “corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes,” Jesus saw souls who had certainly made bad choices and even caused others pain – but also saw a humility that was redeemable.  For Jesus saw that the person who has really messed up by the world’s standards often times recognizes their humble state before God and has no quarrel with the fact that they have sinned.
It was to these that Jesus said, “come” – do leave behind that lifestyle – but come now, come as you are.  You can be a brand new, forgiven and amazing creation with a fresh start.  For through Christ God forgives completely and He is all about the attitude of the heart.  He simply asks us to “come.”
And so, ultimately, it’s not about the mistakes we have made or having a ‘clean track record.’  No, rather it is about the condition of our hearts.  And truth be told, sometimes we human beings have to go through a lot of bad stuff before our hearts are willing to become humble and soft and able to see our desperate need of a Redeemer.
Looking for a merciful and compassionate “Shepherd of your soul?”  Come to Christ.  Express your belief in Him, ask Him to forgive your past and accept His free gift of life.  And, if you let us know that you did, we will celebrate with you.  For a brand new start on life is cause for joy and celebration and open to anyone.         

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