Someone recently pointed out to me that it was others, not Jesus, who referred to him as a “friend of sinners.” He never used those kinds of labels in referring to the people-in-need that he hung out with.
In fact, Jesus did not classify them at all, except perhaps when he called them ‘sheep without a shepherd.’ To him they were just people who needed to be cared about, cared for, and loved while living among. He had dinner with them, hung out with them, and naturally experienced life in their midst.
In many ways, the people that others classified as ‘sinners’ were simply Jesus’ peops whom he deeply loved. Maybe that’s why he had such an impact on them. And maybe we would have more peops to hang out with if we didn’t have our own labels and classifications that are often barriers to simple, raw love.
Who are your peops?
Note: the Urban Dictionary defines peops as “a common abbreviation of the plural term ‘people’; i.e., peoples; i.e., peops (phonetically ‘peeps’).