The Proximity Principle
This past weekend I preached a message on Jesus encountering a man possessed with an army of demons inside him (Mark 5). It was the perfect passage for Halloween week. I explored how Jesus put Himself in proximity with people in messy situations. Yet we tend to do exactly the opposite.
The crazy part of the story is that the people are terrified of Jesus and ask Him to leave AFTER he heals the man. It shows how quickly we push people away and make ourselves comfortable with the distance. As Greg Boyd says, "It’s much easier to remain certain of your beliefs when you are not in personal contact with people who believe differently."
Jesus spent so much time with people in messy situations that His reputation took a hit for it. Jesus explained it like this: "The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’" (Luke 7:34).
This led me to ask a sobering question for each of us following Jesus today: When was the last time someone criticized you for having too wide of a sphere of influence?
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