8 If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.  [a]
12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.
Pursuing Friendships With Worthless People
Dear Jesus, help me never to be guilty of leaving people out because of prejudice. Help me not to judge people because of what they have done in the past, what sin they struggle with, or how they look. There is an hierarchy in society of the well-dressed, beautiful, and rich being at the top, and the homeless, unintelligent, and poor being at the bottom. When I examine my heart it is not free from condescension and contempt. I tend to judge the rich and famous as shallow and I judge the poor as reaping the fruit of what they have sown. So I condemn the ‘least of these.’ Within the community of faith God pursues the errant and that lost. We often give people a wide berth because they don’t like our music, they dress differently, and they aren’t from our social class. We have built whole churches which focus on a demographic that is narrow and exclusive. How do we build churches that chase after those who do not love sin, but who are ensnared by the worst kinds of vices? How do we build compassionate hospitals for the spiritually suffering?
Jesus, help us to discern but not condemn. Help us to know good from evil, but not to write people off as fodder for hell this side of death.
- What does Jesus say about body parts?
- How can our bodies be used to cause division among God’s people?
- How important is the Christian brother or sister who has lost their way?
- Who do you tend to have contempt for? Who do you tend to look down upon?
- How might you chase after those who are on the fringes of the faith?