Do you love people who do not share your love for Jesus? I ask this because it seems we Christians often look at lost people as our enemies. We fear they are going to contaminate us or our children. We cringe at some of the things they say and do. They support things we find offensive. Yet, they are part of a very privileged group—a group called “the world” which God loves and for whom Jesus died. You remember that group don’t you? You and I were part of it!
It is true that sinners are said to be enemies of God. (Romans 5:8) This means that relationally they are cut off from God and need to be reconciled. But God loves them. We can’t have intimate fellowship with those who do not know Christ but we can love them and show them kindness in Jesus’ name.
As you read the gospels you see that Jesus was fond of lost people and enjoyed hanging around them. They were attracted to Him. The people who found Jesus unattractive were those steeped in religion and filled with pride. Jesus often had harsh but true words for this group. But Jesus was eager to show goodness to sinners. In John chapter nine Jesus healed a man who had been blind from birth. Later, in the temple, Jesus came to him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” He replied, “Who is He Lord that I may believe in Him?” When Jesus revealed that He was the Son of God the man said, “Lord, I believe!” and he worshiped Him. (John 9:13-38) Jesus healed him and then he became a believer. He met this man’s felt need (to receive his sight) and then met his greatest need.
Jesus often did this. For example, when blind Bartimaeus kept crying out to Jesus in the midst of a crowd the disciples told him to keep quiet. But Jesus sent for him and upon seeing him said, “What can I do for you?” (Mark 10:51) He said the same thing to two blind men in Matthew 20:32. In both cases He healed their blind eyes and as a result of His goodness and kindness they ended up following Him.
It seems we would be wise to follow Jesus’ example. He showed compassion on people and genuinely cared for them and their needs. Then, they usually ended up following Him. He wants our efforts to reach the lost to be done the same way. We need to stop waiting till people come to faith in Christ to love and care for them. When love and kindness doesn’t precede our attempts to win them to Christ they get the idea they are “a project” to us...someone we wish to change and get over to our side! How much better it is to love and care for them before we share our faith with them. It seems obvious that God will use our acts of love and kindness to soften the hearts of unbelievers to be receptive to our message. And we can’t show love and kindness to people we look on as our enemies.
It is time for a change of mind in the church toward the lost. They are not our enemies. They are people Jesus died for. They need to see that we truly care about them. They need to receive genuine love from us. That’s what Jesus would do. That’s what we should do. Begin today! Look for opportunities to show kindness to those who do not know and love our Savior. Before long many of them may become our brothers and our sisters in Christ and share heaven’s bliss with us and with our loving Savior.