A student shared that he wants to believe in Jesus, but “of the Christians I know, they are not very loving.” How should we, as Christians, respond? It is a sad but true commentary on the Christian community. According to Barna’s latest studies on Christian behavior, only 6% of people live out their faith with love and respect for others. Mix that in with the election year, emotions on both sides of the aisle are boiling over. Truth, patience, and love are buried by hate from the media and the world. For such a time as this, we Christians need to step it up!
“A new commandment I give to you that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this, all people will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). The greatest proof of your faith is how we live our lives.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
Hypocrisy in the Church is the number one reason many stay away from it. If Christianity is no more than performing for friends in the church and then acting like the world at home and work, why did Christ die and rise again? We are called to be Christ in all areas of life all the time. A few years ago, I sat in the bleachers of a high school’s football game against a Christian High School in Indianapolis. The lack of sportsmanship was astounding, coming from the Christian parents: Screaming at the refs, clapping when the opponents dropped a pass, and even booing one of their own players. The witness that day to many nonbelievers was nothing short of pathetic.
“In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree is not able to bear bad fruit, nor a bad tree to bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will recognize them by their fruit” (Matthew 7:17-20).
Why are we so quick to criticize unbelievers for their bad behavior, but are reluctant to see the sin in our own lives? People without Christ are merely living out their worldview as Humanists. What is the Christian’s excuse? The biblical account of the woman, who was caught in the act of adultery by the religious leaders, comes to mind. They brought her to Jesus, who did not shame her for her sin but rather used the opportunity to teach the religious leaders to look at their own sin before accusing others. “Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:6,7). A great lesson for all of us! Keep in mind that it was the scribes and Pharisees that initiated the killing of Jesus.
The Bible teaches that God is love. If we are Christians, we should be known by the way we love God and others. “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him” (John 4:8,9)
We need to get serious about our witness to others. God loves all those whom He created, including sinners. We are all called to be the hands and feet of Jesus by the way we love others. Here are three key points of being the light for those who have yet to know Jesus.
Show respect “Honor all people, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the king” (1 Peter 2:17).
Pray “First of all, then, I urge that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanks be offered on behalf of all people, even for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. Such prayer for all is good and welcomed before God our Savior since he wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
Be a good witness of Christ. It is a beautiful act of love to treat someone with respect and kindness, even though you do not approve of their lifestyle, sinful choices, or political viewpoints. Love them where they are without judgment. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).