Do “non-believers” need the straight up truth about everything the Bible has to say about everything they may be doing wrong? Do they need you to make a great point about how they are living in sin? Maybe you made a great point about something that they said or did that didn’t match up with God’s word, and all of your Christian friends really applauded you for that. Or do they need you to show unconditional love and to not point any fingers? Do They need someone who won’t judge them for what they may be doing wrong? What does the Bible say? Is there a right and a wrong way to treat a “non-believer”? Let’s take a look at a few scriptures to see how the Bible tells us to handle these situations.
In Luke 19:1-10 “Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. 2 There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. 3 He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.5 When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”6 Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. 7 But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled. 8 Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”9 Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
This was a problem for a lot of the religious people. And I’m sure we can see that a lot today. A lot of people might see someone new show up to church with a baseball cap, tattoos and piercings and smelling of the Marijuana or alchohol and want to kick them out on the spot, but that is not the way Jesus showed us. Jesus didn’t go up to Zacchaeus and say you are a dirty sinner and I want nothing to do with you unless you get saved and then walk over to his disciple buddy’s and say “yeah Peter did you see me drop that bomb on him, he didn’t see it coming” haha. No Jesus didn’t want to make that point, you will see the religious Pharisees doing that, but not Jesus. Instead Jesus made dinner plans with Zacchaeus and I’m sure showed him Grace and Love! And then Zacchaeus changed for the better. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost, to make a difference, not to make good points.
*Jesus allowed for people to Belong before they Believed
In Matthew 11 The religious people tried to dis Jesus by calling him a “Friend of Sinners”. But Jesus wasn’t in the business of trying to impress other Christians. On paper Jesus had more in common with the Pharisees than the Pagans and non believers, but Jesus constantly directionally leaned toward the people he may have disagreed more with, the people he had less in common with. I want to make a note that a lot of Christians may not agree with, that is that we should not fear guilt by association. We shouldn’t freak out if someone from church sees us out to eat with a “sinner”/non believer. If you struggle with the sin, then be smart about it, but don’t be afraid of reaching out to sinners and showing them grace and love. We to should be a friend of sinners.
In Galatians 2:11-13 we see an example of Peter getting embarrassed to be hanging out with uncircumcised gentiles. Some friends of James came by and Peter basically ditched out on them, on the uncircumcised gentiles that is. And as a result some other Jewish Christians followed that hyprocritical example of Peter. He was afraid of criticism from other believers. We should not be afraid of criticism.
I want to give some props and credit to someone that I know, that is a great example of how we should be toward sinners and non-believers. Clayton, my brother-in-law, has been such a great example in reaching out to non-believers full of grace and love. Ever since I have known him, this has been his ministry and there is always people coming to the Lord from it just like Zacchaeus did. I think a lot of us “Christians” can learn a lot from him on how to reach out to the unsaved and treat them. He is constantly asking them if they need rides, taking them out to eat, inviting them into his home and that is the way Jesus did it and the Bible tells us to do it. So if you know him, take his example in that area! We shouldn’t judge non-Christians for acting like non-Christians. 1 Cor 5:12 says “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?”
Here is a key verse from what i have been talking about is this
Colossians 4:5-6 “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders, make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
Surrender your agenda and lovingly serve the people in your path.
Instead of judging and saying sinner, sinner, sinner, Rather than saying you are a sinner, doing this wrong, doing that wrong and saying oh yeah, by the way, Jesus Loves You. Rather than those things, Be full of grace and season it with “some salt”. In other words, show them love and we can season it with a little bit of God’s word, but don’t over do it. Balance it the way this verse does “full of grace, seasoned with salt…FULL of grace and just SEASONED with salt. Show them patience and humility so much so that they can see there is something different with you. That something is the same love and grace that Christ showed towards the sinners. He didn’t come to condemn the world, but to save it! So we should take his example and run with it. We should do more of it! I know that I need to do more of it and in doing so I can bet that we will be making more of a positive impact and difference rather than a negative “point” or impact.
Jonathan, I like your blog and encourage you to keep up the good work. But I must say that not only do nonbelievers need straight up truth, so do believers. Both the Old and New Testaments of the King James Bible, KJV, have been severely tampered with, and the tampering within the RSV and NIV versions is even worse, and there is a mountain of Biblical evidence that supports my statement. As His humble servant I call upon Almightly God to richly Bless you, your godly work, and all those whom you cherish. Amen and Amen.
Good points Rod! The straight up truth is something we all need of course. I am talking about the way we go about reaching people, it has to be in love and grace!
Love and grace is extremely important, for Jesus preached, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another and all the creatures of God. Love is the fulfilling of the law. Love is of God, and God is love. Whoso loveth not, knoweth not God.” I live by that commandment, and ask others to do the same, and I ask them to share it with others to create a unified effort to help change the world. God Bless.