Matthew 9:9-13 (NLT)
9 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector�s booth. �Follow me and be my disciple,� Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him. 10 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. 11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, �Why does your teacher eat with such scum?� 12 When Jesus heard this, he said, �Healthy people don�t need a doctor�sick people do.� 13 Then he added, �Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: �I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.� � For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.�
In these verses the Apostle Matthew is called to be one of the disciples of Jesus. His profession was a tax collector, which was considered by many a disreputable job. Matthew invited Jesus and His disciples to his home where Matthew�s friends gathered with them. The Pharisees challenged them being with what they called the scum of the earth. Then Jesus spoke Hosea 6:6. The New Living Translation says this, �I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.� Jesus was reminding them knowing God, knowing what God desires of us, and understanding God wants us to pass His love on to others, even sinners, is more important than superficial sacrificial living.
Scanning through some shows on TV I heard a question written to a pastor. The question was, �I am a Christian and I have a friend who is not. Others in my church tell me I should not associate with them because of some things they do. Should I stop being friends with this person?� Throughout the teachings of Jesus He tells us love is the most important thing we can do in the lives of others. We are to love those close to us. We are to love those we are in disagreement with. We are to love those who might seem unlovable. First though we must love God with all our heart, with all our soul and all our will. It is then we can freely love others in the appropriate ways; no matter who that person may be.
The question asked by the viewer shows there are those today who still believe as the Pharisees that it is more important how things look than fellowship and relationships built on love instilled by God. The Apostle John tells us one thing we should not love. �Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.� So it ok to associate with those others may deem as unlovable and sinful as long as we do not allow ourselves to be tempted by worldly pleasures.