LETTER: Jesus offers compassion, salvation
To the Editor:
J. Fred Watson’s letter regarding Paula Deen and her punishment for using the “N” word closes with the question, “Why is it that only the “N” word is offensive?” I thought of another word that when used evokes an even wider array of emotions and thoughts in people and some find it offensive. That word is the “J” word for “Jesus” our Savior.
Many have formed opinions of Jesus through sources other than what the Bible says. Jesus is as misunderstood today as he was at his first coming. Most of the Jewish people at that time gladly received Jesus. It was the Jewish leaders who self-righteously judged and rejected him. They should have been preparing the hearts of the people to receive the Messiah by teaching the word and by encouraging the prophet John’s baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Instead they were offended and criticized both John and Jesus for upsetting their religion. They accused John of being demon-possessed, and Jesus summed up their opinion about himself saying, “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children” — Luke 7:34-35.
Jesus knew the hearts of the people then and today. By his grace, he offers salvation to all. Every person chooses to either believe and receive him, or deny and reject him. The account in Luke continues at the house of a Pharisee who had invited Jesus for dinner: “And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that he was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing his feet and anointing them with the perfume.”
This woman never spoke a word; her sincere action demonstrated that she recognized Jesus as her personal savior, who knew her heart and was able to forgive her sins. When we humble ourselves before God as this woman “sinner,” we become more understanding when people like Paula Deen fall short, and more compassionate toward others when they offend us.
Robert A. Watson