RELIGION: Jesus Said, ‘I have Not Come for the Righteous’

February 19, 2007, during the opening monologue for CBS "Late Late Show," a television viewer audience of over 2 million were surprised to hear the late-night talk show host, Craig Fergerson, share a glimpse of his struggle as an alcoholic.

Craig Fergerson told the audience he had been sober for 15 years, but the years leading up to his sobriety were destructive and filled with chaos including a plan to end his life.

Craig's monologue of personal transparency focused on a moment in time when he decided to change the direction of his destructive life of alcohol abuse to living sober.

Craig not only admitted his lifestyle was destructive, but he also said, "I don't have a drinking problem, I have a thinking problem." He knew getting sober was not the complete answer. He had to change his perspective, change his attitude, and change his mind about alcohol. In other words, he came to realize he must change his direction in life.

Craig's monologue was a story of confession and repentance. His confession was his story of admitting alcohol abuse and describing how his life was unraveling and spiraling out of control.

A friend of mine once told me he could sum up years of alcohol abuse this way, "It was bad, and it got worse." Craig's story of alcoholism was similar.

The repentance part of his monologue represented his "pivoting," or turning away from, walking in the opposite direction of alcohol. The word "pivot" describes the actual act of turning around (going the opposite direction), both literally and figuratively.

An example of "pivoting" is if you enrolled in college with a focus on agricultural engineering and following two years of study, you changed your major to "pivoted" by changing your mind and the direction in your studies.

"Pivot" and the word "repent" have deep Scriptural references denoting the act of turning around, changing your mind and going in the opposite direction.

Jesus Christ's plea with humanity 2,000 years ago as well as you and I living in the year 2024, is for us to "repent" or "pivot," meaning to change our mind, change our direction in life from sin to Jesus Christ.

Jesus tells us He came to Earth not to embrace the "good" people. His earthly life and teaching focused on people living in sin, people struggling for clarity as well as those living in chaos and destructive lifestyles.

Luke 5:31-32 Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

Jesus' message "calling sinners to repentance" is a call for you and me to "pivot," change our mind, change our attitude, change the direction of our life walking away from sin and toward Him.

Peter tells us in the book of Acts, if we want a life of peace and forgiveness, we are to turn away "pivot" from a life of sinfulness and direct our life toward God. Acts 3:19 says "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord."

Many of us can relate to this quote from Christopher Columbus, "I am a most noteworthy sinner, but I have cried out to the Lord for grace and mercy, and they have covered me completely. I have found the sweetest consolation since I made it my whole purpose to enjoy His marvelous presence."

The message from Jesus Christ is for even the "most noteworthy sinners" to turn away, change our mind, change our attitude, change the direction of our life away from sin so we can enjoy "His marvelous presence."

-- Dennis R. Hixson of Fayetteville is a husband, father, teacher, business leader, author, and mentor. Currently Dennis teaches an adult Bible class at Prairie Grove Christian Church and Practical Biblical Application class at the Fayetteville Salvation Army, Drug and Alcohol Recovery Program. Send comments and questions to: [email protected].