“the orphan clings to Your hand
singing the song of how he was found
the widow rejoices
for her oppressors are silenced now
You sit at the table with the wounded and the poor
You laugh and share stories with the thief and the whore
when you could just be silent and leave us here to die
still, You sent Your Son for us
You are on our side
the runaway falls at Your feet
You are what he has searched for
the rich man is broken
when he stands beneath a sky full of stars”

~ “You are on our side”… by bethany dillon

I kind of doubt we are going to hear this one on Christian radio.. that is, unless Bethany records another version with a slightly different chorus. But you know what? I think it is so much more effective this way. Isn’t it just right? Todd Agnew’s “My Jesus” is the same way. So it has a word in there that people like to avoid. So what? Isn’t changing it so that those words are not included sort of pushing it under the rug and ignoring people who fit those descriptions? [I am not saying here that Christian radio should play anything that compromises their commitment to not having any kind of language on there that is going to offend some people. That’s not my point at all.. Just want to make sure I point that out!]

Bethany uses this kind of language in her song, I think, to make a point. God is here with us, He is on our side, no matter who we are. It doesn’t matter what on earth we may have done — we can come to Him. If we will only come, we have been promised life.

Isn’t is so great that He sits at the table, sharing stories with the thieves and the whores? It is so easy to look around us, to watch the news and say, “Well, I’m not as bad as that person. I haven’t murdered anybody.” No, maybe not. But.. have you ever hated anyone? Jesus said that if we hate someone, we’re guilty of murder in our heart. (Matthew 5:21-22) See, it is not about the legalism of following the law just to follow the law. It’s about our heart, it’s about our attitude and the motives behind what we do (or don’t do).

How easy it is to compare ourselves to others and look down on them. But we are all sinners. There is not one of us who is deserving of life. (Romans 3:23, Romans 3:10) You know, we are all the same in God’s sight. We’ve all done wrong. There is no difference between someone who has told one little lie and someone who sells their body.

To look down on others is to say that we are better than them. But.. I know that I am no better than anybody else. I have seen that in my life. My thoughts and attitudes, my actions and words, my motives are not what they should be all the time. I do things I shouldn’t. We all do.

The Pharisees walked around looking for people to condemn because they thought that following the law was all it took, but they had it all wrong. Jesus chose to hang out with the cheaters and the prostitutes, the thieves, the everyday people, because He knew what really mattered. Unlike the backward Pharisees, Jesus put emphasis on reaching out to the unloved and the unlovely. He chose to reach out to them, knowing that showing them compassion would have life-changing effects on them. He knew about the chain reactions loving the “unloveable” would have.

Just think how different our lives would look right now if we really lived out this kind of love to the extent that Jesus did… Picture it in your mind…

If Jesus had not chosen to reach out and love the people who were considered to be the worst people of His day, where would that leave us? Had He not loved them, He wouldn’t have died on the cross. Because.. He died for them. He died for us. The full beauty of His unmatchable love lies in the fact that it is so undeserved.

Seeing how He died for us all, how He reached out during His life on earth to show love for everyone makes me want to do the same. We are called to imitate Jesus, to live a life of love just like Him. (Ephesians 5:1-2) This means loving the unlovely, the ones the world would say could never deserve it. But see.. that is the beauty of it. We don’t deserve God’s love either. The fact that He sat and laughed and shared stories at the table with the wounded and the poor, with the thief and the whore, that He reached out to the orphans and the widows, means that He chose to love them.. and it means that He chose to love us.

Isn’t that a truly beautiful love?