Quoting Rudy Rasmus From His Book Touch

Our staff has been reading Rudy Rasmus‘ book Touch: Pressing Against the Wounds of a Broken World. Today we are getting together to discuss what we’ve learned. Here are some of my favorite quotes…

When we are convinced that we have received love and grace that we so richly don’t deserve, we’ll stop trying to affix blame so we can one up someone else. The experience of grace trumps blame and opens the door to loving others.

I don’t ask why a person is homeless or jobless or cross-dresses or smells bad. I don’t care if it’s her fault, someone else is to blame, or if a meteor came from outer space and caused the problem. There’s no need to assign blame, keep score, or label people. Instead, I just see someone Jesus is dying to love, someone who needs help, someone God has put in my path at the moment to touch in a tangible, meaningful way.

Jesus showed just as much love to Nicodemus, a powerful and respected Pharisee, as He showed to the shame-filled Samaritan woman who had had five husbands. He cared as much for the rich kid who couldn’t part with his money as He did for the widow who put all she had into the offering plate. He didn’t show preference for Jairus, the respected synagogue official, over the poor sick woman who touched his clothes.

He didn’t get all worked up because one person got it and another didn’t. He just loved them all.

His goal wasn’t to categorize them into believers and unbelievers, clean and unclean, righteous and unrighteous. He met each person where he was and tried to bring him to the center of God’s presence so he could experience His love.

It’s not my job to make people love each other. I’d go crazy trying to do that. It’s my role to bring people to the center of God’s love so they can be transformed by His touch. Then God’s fantastic love overflows and touches more people. But if it doesn’t happen, I just keep nudging people to the center, pointing them on the path to Jesus. If they take a step toward Him, we all celebrate. If they don’t, we don’t get bent out of shape. It took me a long, long time to get it, so I can wait for other people to take their own time too.

John, in his first letter, said that if we are really following Jesus, we will “walk just as He walked.” What in the world does that mean? Here’s my list of what I think it means:

  • Jesus didn’t use love as leverage. He didn’t love people to get them to change. He just loved them and let them respond. Some of them repented and found love and hope; some hated Him and plotted to kill Him.
  • He didn’t own much (a tunic, sandals, and maybe some lip balm), and He never seemed to care about acquiring things. In fact, He was really wary about the destructive power of things. Freedom and joy seemed to come from giving stuff away.
  • He loved people and used a few rules—not the other way around.
  • Jesus regularly hung out with riffraff, sick folks, prostitutes, and other outcasts.
  • He wasn’t afraid of powerful, rigid people.
  • He asked really hard questions, and when people asked Him questions, He didn’t give simple answers—if He gave any answer at all.
  • He loved people so much that He was severely criticized for it.
  • He was rigidly nonpolitical.
  • He taught and modeled a powerful combination of truth and grace.
  • He accepted everybody, but He never abandoned the brutal truth to accommodate differences.
  • As almighty God in human flesh, Jesus was infinitely superior, but common people felt completely comfortable with Him because He loved them without patronizing them.
  • Rigid, self-righteous, power-hungry, political people felt threatened by Him and hated Him.
  • He prayed often, long, and hard.
  • He had such a clear sense of His purpose and strong trust in the Father that He was never in a hurry, even though the weight of the world was on His shoulders.
  • Popularity and success never went to His head. He always moved toward people in need, not toward people who would give Him applause and power.
  • Interruptions (like four guys lowering a paralyzed friend through the ceiling in the middle of His talk) never fazed Him. He saw every moment as an opportunity to do the Father’s will.

I’ve learned a lot from the recovery community about being transparent. Step 1 is admitting our sins, wounds, and destructive behavior. Step 4 requires us to take a “searching and fearless moral inventory” to identify harmful attitudes and actions so we can repent, and Step 5 challenges us to admit our faults to God, ourselves and another person.

I don’t expect everybody to go to the extremes I am willing to go to in my leadership style, but maybe it would be helpful to share a few commitments I’ve made to be authentic, transparent, and trustworthy:

  • I often tell the congregation or individuals what I’m struggling with that day—not after I’ve resolved and sugarcoated it.
  • I have no secrets, except those others have shared with me about themselves.
  • My wounds are visible to all. Some of my hurts have healed and scarred over, but a few are still open and bleeding. I tell people the unvarnished truth.
  • I don’t see myself as a CEO at St. John’s. I’m more of a gang leader.
  • There’s no doubt I’m still process. I don’t expect perfection in this life, only step-by-step progress by the grace of God.
  • I never talk about a topic unless I’ve experienced it myself.
  • When I mess up (which is often), I try to admit it to God and to the people I offended as quickly as possible, no matter how embarrassing it may be.


The whole book is great – I think you should read it too :)

I’m currently reading his latest, “Love. Period.


I am a husband, father, pastor, leader & reader. I love God, love people & love life.

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