Jesus regularly ate with prostitutes, tax-collectors, and society’s untouchables. To follow in Jesus’ steps means that we too must interact with non-believers and share the truth of the Gospel with them.
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. -Colossians 4:5-6
Built on Different Foundations
Navigating relationships with people who don’t share the same faith as yourself can be tricky. It is difficult to have transformative relationships with non-believers because we both have different foundations.
According to Paul in Ephesians 2:20-21, we are “fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.”
All of Us Were Once Enemies
While it is true that we have different foundations, it is helpful to remember that we all used to be enemies of Christ. It is only by God’s grace that we as believers have understood and believed the truth of the gospel.
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” -Ephesians 2:1-5
Knowing that we were saved only by the grace of God and nothing we did on our own, helps us to have humility when relating to non-believers.
As a Christian, it is neither your job, nor should it be, to be a salesman of the gospel. It is your job to gently share the truth of the gospel with those who do not know it and be a reflection of the love of Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:14 says that we should share the gospel with others because the love of Christ controls us.
“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died.”
When we relate to non-believers, we should be open about our relationship with the Lord and boldly proclaim the Good News. However, it is important to balance this with being loving and understanding toward the other person. Perhaps someone has used Christianity to hurt them in the past. If we don’t know their story, it is important to listen intentionally so that when we have the opportunity, we can share the gospel more effectively.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” -James 1:19
One of the most significant things you can do for a non-believer is to pray for them. Pray that the Holy Spirit will work through you. Pray that the other person’s heart will be softened and receptive to your message. Pray that your relationship with them is strengthened. Pray that you can be an imitator of Christ to them.
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” -Ephesians 5:1-2