Don’t be surprised when those who don’t know Me don’t follow My ways…
I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. 1 Corinthians 5:10
Christians often earn a reputation for being judgmental toward people who don’t share our faith. And while a life apart from God usually isn’t lived according to His standards, Christians make a mistake by acting surprised by a world that acts like it doesn’t love Him. Instead of forcing our opinions on people who aren’t interested, it might be better to spend our energy rethinking our approach.
As His children, we should focus on growing in wisdom and love. The wisdom of 1 Corinthians 5 reveals us as His loving followers when we need it. Our job as reflections of Jesus on earth is not to turn off those who don’t know Him. But that’s essentially what we do when we make our faith about expecting a lost world to conform to standards He calls His children to obey.
Not living by His truth is wrong for Christians and unbelievers alike. But our role as His followers is to love others, not to condemn them. We can and should show love to people who don’t know the Lord, regardless of whether their lifestyle lines up with the Bible. We can know someone’s behavior is wrong, but still draw that person closer to Christ through the quality of our love for them.
The world sorely lacks love, and many people’s sin patterns result as coping mechanisms for past hurts. We have no business stomping someone’s heart with condemnation, particularly when that heart has grown accustomed to mistreatment. God calls us to a higher love that cares first about the person.
When God’s own, who are dearly love by Him, thumb our noses at those who desperately need to know what real love feels like, we do His reputation more harm than good. Instead of being surprised by the world’s sin, perhaps we might surprise the world with a different approach… with real love… the love of Jesus!
Lord, please help me to be a messenger of Your love and don’t let me forget that a person living in sin is a person living in pain. Amen!
Greg Stefanelli (gstefanelli)
Where did we get the idea that responding to wrong behavior with hateful behavior could improve someone?
What Love Really Means – Love Me (JJ Heller)