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A Friend of Sinners

"It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."1

Of the two kinds of sinners in Jesus' day, whom did he prefer to mix with? The honest ones—that is, those who admitted their sins, weaknesses, and failures.

As long as I deny my own reality (sins, weakness, failures, and my dark side), I cannot truly relate to other people. This is because I am hiding my real self and pretending to be someone that I am not. As Richard C. Halverson, former chaplain of the U.S. Senate, wrote in one of his weekly letters some time ago:

"Only sinners can relate. Sinners enjoy authentic fellowship. Saints don't! People who pose as saints aren't free to remove their masks. Under pressure to project conventional piety, they are unable to open up and share themselves.

"Upholding the traditional religious image, they remain invulnerable in human relationships because they dare not expose their real selves. They major in propositions rather than persons … share their victories but never their failures. Meeting head to head instead of heart to heart, protecting themselves against discovery, they ricochet against each other like marbles.

"The authentic saint is oblivious to his sainthood, deeply aware of his unworthiness, sensitive to his failure, confesses he is a sinner, which makes possible true fellowship. Sinners acknowledge their inadequacy, lean heavily on God's grace, and identify quickly with need in others.

"Recognizing all men are sinners, unwilling to hide from the truth, they share their weaknesses, confess their sin to one another, and do not fear vulnerability. They come together like grapes, crushed and fragrant, dependent upon each other, and God."

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be real—to see and acknowledge all my sins, weaknesses, failures, character flaws, and broken parts so I can bring them all to you for your healing and forgiveness. Please me merciful to me a sinner. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Jesus in Mark 2:17.

Note: If you have never confessed your sinfulness to God and asked for his forgiveness, I encourage you to do that today. For further help please read the article, "Forgiveness: The Power That Heals" at:, and/or "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian" at:


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.