Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Q&A: What does the Bible say about how to deal with unbelievers?
I completely understand what you're saying. It's incredibly easy to let frustration and anger boil over when we see the blatant rebellion and defiance among unbelievers today. But we cannot forget that these are the very individuals whom God has called us to reach with the good news. And if we're angry, we will not reach them. As James wrote, "...the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." James 1:20 (ESV)
As much as our anger would like to be satisfied by seeing God rain judgment down on the defiant, we are reminded that "...God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." John 3:17 (ESV) And we, the Body of Christ, are are here to continue that ministry until our Lord returns. It is not a ministry of condemnation, but rather one of compassion. We're told that when Jesus saw the masses of people coming to Him He viewed them as "...harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matthew 9:36 (ESV) We must think of unbelievers in that same way.
Additionally, we must never forget that we were once in the same place. The Apostle Paul wrote down for the Corinthians a list of those who would not inherit the kingdom of God, and then he added these words: "And that is what some of you were." 1 Cor. 6:11 (NIV) And then he gently reminded them why they were no longer listed among the lost, saying, "But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."
We cannot afford to forget that we were once objects of God's wrath—cut off and without hope in this world. But Jesus saved us by His incredible mercy. Not because of our goodness or value, but simply because of His goodness—seen through the death of Jesus on our behalf.
Showing love to those who would see themselves as our enemies is never easy—but it is imperative. And that is why we must rely completely on the power and presence of God's Holy Spirit. And that begins with you and me setting aside our anger and surrendering ourselves as instruments of His amazing loving kindness.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." Matthew 5:9 (ESV)