If you have watched the Walking Dead you may be familiar with Rick and Daryl. Daryl was taken hostage by the Saviors and finally escaped in the mid season finale. Making his way home he is united once again with Rick and the others. When Rick and Daryl see each other they walk slowly toward each other and embrace like father and son.
You may have noticed that Daryl’s hair never looks clean and he wears the same clothes for several day. You may have noticed that he carries all he owns wherever he goes. This touches me because I have taught many Daryls’ in my day. They come to school with unkept hair and wear the same clothes for several days in a row. My Daryls’ will often hoard their things and become fearful when they are lost or taken away. My Daryls’ are often difficult to love because they were broken at a very young age and some may never be mended. The best thing you can do for Daryls’ is love them unconditionally and hug them in spite of the smell.
Now apply this “loosely” to the church. Suppose Rick is the Church and Daryl is the Sinner. What would you do if Daryl entered your church? How would you react to his appearance and his odor? Would you scurry your children away so they would not be offended by his presence? Would you welcome Daryl or ask him to leave? I know what Jesus would do. He would welcome Daryl with open arms! He would sit and eat with Daryl? He would love Daryl unconditionally!
Is your church that accepting?
Does your church love unconditionally?
Will you embrace smell and odor to love a child of God? Regardless of their age!