What do you think about non-believers?

483 like think glibs about non-believers

I address you with an important question: How do you feel about non-believers? I think that's a question we should all think about! Chuck Colson, founder of the Prison Fellowship and the Breakpoint Radio program in the US, once answered this question with an analogy: If a blind man steps on you or pours hot coffee over your shirt, would you be mad at him? He answers himself that we probably are not, just because a blind man can not see what is in front of him.

Please also remember that people who have not been called to believe in Christ yet can not see the truth in their eyes. Because of the fall, they are spiritually blind (2, Corinthians 4,3-4). But just in time, the Holy Spirit opens their spiritual eyes to see (Ephesians 1,18). The church fathers called this event the miracle of enlightenment. When it happened, it was possible for people to come to faith; could believe what they saw with their own eyes.

Although some people, despite seeing eyes, decide not to believe, it is my belief that most of them in their lives will eventually respond positively to God's clear call. I pray that they will do this sooner rather than later so they can experience the peace and joy of God's knowledge already at this time and tell others about God.

We believe we recognize that non-believers have misconceptions about God. Some of these ideas are the result of bad examples of Christians. Others have come from illogical and speculative opinions about God that have been heard for years. These misconceptions aggravate spiritual blindness. How do we respond to their unbelief? Unfortunately, many Christians respond with the construction of protective walls or even strong rejection. By erecting these walls, they overlook the reality that non-believers are as important to God as believers. They have forgotten that the Son of God did not come to earth just for believers.

When Jesus began his ministry on earth, there were no Christians yet - most people were non-believers, even the Jews of that time. But thankfully, Jesus was a friend of sinners - an advocate of non-believers. He realized, "the healthy do not need a doctor, but the sick" (Matthew 9,12). Jesus Himself set himself the task of seeking out the lost sinners to accept Him and the salvation He offered them. So he spent much of his time with people who were considered by others to be unworthy and unremarkable. The religious leaders of the Jews therefore labeled Jesus as "a wolverine and wine-runner, a friend of publicans and sinners" (Luke 7,34).

The gospel reveals the truth to us; Jesus the Son of God became a man who lived among us, died and ascended to heaven; He did this for all people. Scripture tells us that God loves "the world." (John 3,16) That can only mean that most people are non-believers. The same God calls us believers to love Jesus like all human beings. For this we need the insight to see them as non-believers in Christ - as those who belong to him, for whom Jesus died and rose again. Unfortunately that is very difficult for many Christians. Apparently there are enough Christians willing to judge others. However, the Son of God has declared that he did not come to condemn the world but to save it (John 3,17). Sadly, some Christians are so eager in condemning non-believers that they completely overlook how God the Father looks on them - as His beloved children. For these people he sent his son to die for them, even though they could not (yet) recognize or love him. We may regard them as non-or unbelievers, but God sees them as future believers. Before opening their eyes to a nonbeliever, the Holy Spirit is locked in the blindness of unbelief - confused by theologically wrong concepts about God's identity and love. It is under these conditions that we must love them rather than avoid or reject them. We should pray that, when the Holy Spirit empowers them, they will understand the good news of God's reconciling grace and accept the truth in faith. These people may enter the new life under God's direction and dominion, and the Holy Spirit may enable them to experience the peace given to them as children of God.

When we think about non-believers, let us remember Jesus' commandment, "Love each other," he said, "as I love you." (John 15,12) And how does Jesus love us by sharing his life and love with him? The Gospels tell us that Jesus loved and accepted tax collectors, adulteresses, the possessed and the leprosy, and also loved the women of bad repute, soldiers who ridiculed and beat him, and the crucified Criminals at His Side When Jesus hung on the cross and remembered all these people, he prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing!" (Luke 23,34) Jesus loves and accepts all of them, that they all of them, as their Savior and Lord, to receive forgiveness and live by the Holy Spirit in communion with their Heavenly Father.

Jesus gives us a share in his love for the non-believers. Thereby we see them as human beings in God's property, which he has created and will redeem, despite the fact that they do not yet know the one who loves them. Keeping this perspective will change our attitude and behavior towards non-believers. We will accept them with open arms as orphaned and alienated family members who yet have to get to know their true father; as lost brothers and sisters who are unaware that they are related to us through Christ. We will seek to meet non-believers with the love of God so that they, too, may welcome the grace of God in their lives.

by Joseph Tkach


pdfHow do we encounter nonsensicals?