A mad man among the tombs, an adulterous woman caught in the act, a despised promiscuous Samaritan woman, and a loathsome cheating tax collector, all people who would have been shunned in their society.  Events in Tuscon AZ, Blacksburg VA, Columbine CO, flood our media and our senses about those who, filled with great evil and pain, lash out to inflict unspeakable harm and damage on innocent people and on all of us by their actions.  In most cases, the perpetrators of those recent acts were also understandably shunned by our society as well.

The bible teaches us two things.  First and all too tragically, the incidents which have burst upon us in these days are not new.  Evil and acts of evil have been with us since the dawn of humanity.  Except for the most heinous of acts, history may not have covered them in the detail that we have today, but they still existed. 

The second thing we are taught by Jesus, in his words and deeds is how we can respond.  Think about all those times that Jesus actually sought out those whom his society had thrown away:  beggars, lame, diseased people.  Think about he did not condemn them; however and equally important, he did not just excuse their condition or evil acts that they did as if they did not exist.  He was able to see through the acts to love the original creation. 

He calls upon us to do the same.

We (and I definitely include myself in this) all know people who we go out of our way to avoid.  It is normal for us to do so; they are loudly obnoxious, rude, unpleasant, unintelligent, angry, dirty, smelly and yes frightening people.  Society would look on us a crazy for even associating with them.  Yet Jesus calls on us and promises to protect us if we will be abnormal.  Abnormal in our kindness and our love.

Understand that in our judgement to avoid, we are not alone.  If we think about it (and I think we are called to) those whom we shun the most are probably also greatly shunned by others.  Am I saying that makes us to blame for what they do?  Absolutely not.  The search for blame is a fruitless waste of energy that more often than not leads to more bitterness than it does satisfaction.  Am I saying that these people should now become our house guests, constant companions or best friends?  No.

But the spoken word, email or some contact that you make to them to say someone cares, may be the ray of hope that penetrates the blackness of their world and guides them to a better place. 

Jesus never failed.  And while we are not and will not be perfect, in this life, as Jesus was, we are called and promised that through Him, we are God’s children and will become more like him in this life.

Reach out today, or soon to someone you would normally most definitely avoid.  You may never know the incredible difference that might make.