I remember working at Disneyland and having incredibly heartfelt conversations with many people. They knew me as the guy who wanted to be a pastor, so, after a few months of being my friend and seeing that I actually cared about them, they would open up to me. I’ve had many gay men tell me about having their Christian parents kick them out when they came out to them, I’ve had suicidal friends reach out to me for help, and many other chances Jesus has allowed me to minister to people in His name.
I’m honored and privileged to represent Jesus, but I often wonder what can be done to help people who aren’t Christian come to have genuine, life-changing relationships with Christians. What is hindering this from happening? I think one reason is our own personal witness. I think we aren’t being the best example of Jesus to the world. I recently tweeted out a poll question and it’s clear people agree that the Church’s witness isn’t where it should be.
If you had to give a grade, how well do you think Christians do at loving people who aren't Christian?
— Jordan Kranda (@JordanKranda) May 7, 2017
Christians are known more for things they disapprove of than for things they approve of. The three most common descriptions of Christians by people who aren’t Christian are hypocritical, judgmental, and boring. I think this stems from us focusing more on being right and less on being righteous.
I feel many Christians focus on the wrong things when they engage with non-Christians. I think their focus is on being Biblical with their words, when they really should be Biblically in their words and in their deeds. I don’t think this always happens. For example, I would agree that homosexuality isn’t Biblical, but how Christians often treat gay people also isn’t Biblical.
I think it begins and ends with Jesus. I think we need to return to the foot of Jesus and ask for forgiveness for the sins we’ve committed against the world. Whether that be the jokes we say, the self-righteous attitude we can tend to feel, or maybe just that we don’t love the world enough to step outside our comfort zone to share the Gospel with them. We all need forgiveness. And I think we also should look to the example of Jesus as motivation and inspiration with how to deal with people.
One of my favorite thing about Jesus was how He loved the people the world loved to hate. If you were rejected and regarded as trash in first century Palestine, you probably met a man named Jesus. He treated you with compassion, love, and respect. You didn’t have to believe his words to experience His grace and mercy, too. His love was not limited to a certain group of people, but instead He showed love to everyone.
I think Christians often focus on saying the right words to people more than treating people in the right way. We will respond to questions with truth, but not always with grace. Jesus, however, was described as full of grace and truth (John 1:14). Our goal is to mirror this in all of our lives, including our dealings with people who aren’t Christian.
So, make sure to say words according to God’s Word, but also live according to God’s character. It’s a terrible shame that the Gospel of God’s love is sometimes preached through man’s anger. We shouldn’t allow this contradiction to happen in our lives.
People matter to God, so people should matter to us. We should care about bringing the Gospel of Jesus to them, but we also should care about not mistreating them in any way.
Let’s be filled with God’s grace and God’s truth and mirror it to the world.