The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ (Luke 7:34)
Jesus was never concerned about being guilty by association. If anyone could be accused of having an interesting set of relationships and people whom he hung around, it would be Jesus. There were tax collectors, sinners, prostitutes.
Jesus’ associations ran the gamut, but he never worried about how he would be perceived by others if he spent his time around these people of question.
I think that’s one reason why Jesus was so well liked by those who were far from God. He loved them even though his lifestyle was vastly different than theirs.
If you wonder why Christians are perceived as judgmental in our world today, it’s because they don’t act like Jesus. Many are concerned with guilt by association and therefore aren’t willing to be around people who might tarnish their supposedly perfect records. But to live in such a way isn’t to walk in Jesus’ footsteps. To the contrary, it is the exact opposite of how Jesus lived.
Are you concerned about guilt by association? Don’t be. Jesus paved the way for his followers to confidently care for people from all backgrounds without fear of what others might think.
Father, please help me to care less about what other people think about my associations than I do about those whom You’ve called me to love. Let me care for those who are the outcasts of our world – just as Jesus did – and let them come to know You.