Who am I?
To me, alcoholics, drug addicts, mentally ill people and the homeless are the "tax collectors" of our day. In Jesus' time, there was nothing worse than to be a tax collector for Rome. You were considered beneath contempt. But it was the tax collectors who were drawn to Jesus. The religious people hated Jesus.
Religious people think you are saved by what you do instead of what Jesus did. Religious people make you jump through a series of hoops before they will baptize you, whereas Peter baptized a Roman the day he accepted Christ. Religious people always think they are right; they will accept no new teaching or anything different than what they have believed for years.
Yet, I think a lot of religious people act in ignorance. They don't know what it is like to live the life of an addict or alcoholic. It is mostly a misunderstanding of people.
I like what my husband says, "Before I was a Christian, I was turned away from God. After I became a Christian I turned towards him. That is what makes the difference. It isn't what I do. It is who I am facing."
My grandson, who died from drinking too much alcohol, had his face turned towards God. He was praying; he wanted to live a good life; but alcohol and drugs had a grip on him. I believe God took his life to spare him from something more terrible that was going to happen. I believe I will see him in heaven.
Who is God?
Someone who has asked us to turn to him.
"Therefore thus says the LORD: “If you return, I will restore you, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as my mouth." Jeremiah 15:19
“If you return, O Israel, declares the LORD, to me you should return. If you remove your detestable idols from my presence, and do not waver, and if you swear, ‘As the LORD lives,’ in truth, in justice, and in righteousness, then nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.” Jeremiah 4:2
"If you return to the LORD, then your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will return to this land, for the LORD your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him." 2 Chronicles 30:9
"Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity." Joel 2:13
Someone who begs people to turn to him.
"They have turned to me their back and not their face. And though I have taught them persistently, they have not listened to receive instruction." Jeremiah 32:33
"They say to wood, 'You are my father,' and to stone, 'You gave me birth.' They have turned their backs to me and not their faces; yet when they are in trouble, they say, 'Come and save us!'" Jeremiah 2:27
"Why then have these people turned away? Why does Jerusalem always turn away? They cling to deceit; they refuse to return." Jeremiah 8:5
"They have turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, who refused to hear my words. They have gone after other gods to serve them. The house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant that I made with their fathers." Jeremiah 11:10