Do you know someone who is spiraling downward?
Ssssplat! Zacchaeus wiped the spit off his face for the fourth time that morning. Nobody liked him. And no one – except the other tax collectors – wanted anything to do with him.
Then one day, Jesus sought him out. “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today” (Luke 19:5 ESV).
And soon Zacchaeus’ heart – and his life – changed!
The man who had built a career by cheating his neighbors joyfully welcomed Jesus into his home. He went from being a dishonest greedy man, hated by his own people, to a sincere and generous man, probably well-liked and respected by his community. (You can read this remarkable story in Luke 19:1-9.)
What changed Zacchaeus?
Perhaps for the first time in many years, instead of experiencing coldness, judgment and hate, Zacchaeus experienced genuine compassion, understanding and love. The mercy Jesus showed him – even before Zacchaeus began to change his behavior – enabled him to make different choices. Eventually, people saw a different man. Zacchaeus probably grew to see himself differently, too.
What would happen if we applied the lessons we learn from Zacchaeus’ story to our own lives? After asking the Holy Spirit to examine our hearts, might we need to confess our shameful tendency to look down upon and judge those we consider worse sinners than ourselves? Are we willing to allow God to help us see others as He sees them – even before we see evidence of a changed life?
Or will we continue pointing our fingers and wagging our tongues until the person does something to deserve our compassion and support? If this is the criteria, what must a person accomplish before we begin to pull for her or hope for the best for him?
What would happen if we sincerely prayed and – as God leads – got involved when we see signs that someone is spiraling downward? How might our churches and communities benefit if we show God’s mercy to those caught in the consequences of their bad or sinful choices?
Isn’t this what we’d want if we were the “Zaccheaus” in our community – or in our church?
What about you?
- Can you relate to Zaccheaus? If so, in what way?
- In what ways do you think we, as the church, can do a better job for the Zaccheauses in our community and in our churches?
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We seem to look at life and what we do as humans to what suits us. However at many times one can be spiralling down and convince them selfs they are fine. We as God’s children need to help them. Pray for them. It’s hard and sad to see someone in that spot. Our God is good and makes away for all an shows us ways to achieve in and through Him if we look to Him
Indeed. Just as we need others to do the same for us when we take the wrong turn and begin spiraling out of control.
So true. We need to be a little kinder towards each other.
Especially when people need to feel our kindness the most. (Thanks for stopping by, Barbara!)
Thank you Sheryl. I feel a changed life goes along with a changed attitude toward my spirituality. I needed what you wrote Bert
Hi, Hon. You’re right. Our relationship with God is vital for us to be able to change. I am praying for you! Just as I so appreciate all the times you prayed for me.