ODJ: scum like us

April 2, 2015 

READ: Mark 2:13-17 

Why does he eat with such scum? (v.16).

I hate them. They’re _______!” (He used a euphemism for scum.) As I continued to converse with the teenager, it became clear that he strongly disliked a certain group of students at school because of the way they talked and acted. The offending students were unpleasant for him to be around and my young friend had no love for them. Although a believer in Jesus, he couldn’t stand to be around people he viewed as scum.

A group of Pharisees once went to some of Jesus’ disciples to complain about certain scum-like characters (Mark 2:16). Who were the offending bottom-feeders? “Tax collectors and other disreputable sinners” (v.15). I love what Mark wrote next: “There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.” It’s evident that those kinds of people were welcomed by Jesus with open arms. He even sought them out (v.14). For He truly loved the ‘scum’.

“Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do,” Jesus said. “I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners” (v.17). The Pharisees couldn’t see beyond their own self-righteousness. Jesus knew their hearts and that they too needed to realise they were sinners!

Let’s face it, all of us are scum (Romans 3:23). We’re all sinners in need of a Saviour who looks beyond our failures and transgressions—One who sees souls that are worth saving. So for us to look down on others because of their sin is hypocritical and flat-out wrong. It goes against the very heart of God.

That’s what I strived to point out gently to my young friend. Yes, we’re all scum, but each person also possesses great value in God’s eyes. May we choose to reach out to those who are scum like us today.

—Tom Felten

365-day-plan: 1 Samuel 28:1-25

Read Luke 16:15 and 18:9-14 and consider how Jesus condemned those who were self-righteous. 
Why is it easy to look down on others because of their sin? How can you show God’s love to some fellow scum-like people in your life this week?