Last week I had a discussion with my girlfriend about tolerance. Her mother is a strong believer in Christianity and absolutely will not tolerate anyone who disagrees with her. To the extent she calls them out on their false beliefs privately and in public. It never goes well. Often, the individual will leave thinking who is this Jesus that’s so hateful? Oh, how my heart breaks for those who feel this way.
Having a Dialogue
It’s hard to dialogue with people who don’t share the same viewpoint as you do. But, if you want to help a non-believer, I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit how He would have you approach the person individually. For me, when called upon the Holy Spirit, I will address them privately through a conversation. Here’s how that goes…
- I open up a dialogue with them one on one. Usually in person, although I have done this online and it takes much longer to establish a true friendship that way. But it can happen – I can testify to that!
- I listen to what they have to say without interrupting them or telling them they’re wrong.
- I ask them if it’s ok to share my beliefs.
- I share my beliefs.
- A few back and forth points are made.
- We both agree to disagree.
- I let him or her know that I’m always here when they’re ready to talk, and usually, they do the same as well.
- We hug each other.
- We love each other.
What I don’t do:
- I don’t call them out publically and try to embarrass or shame them into Christianity.
- I don’t talk behind their back and make them feel bad.
- I don’t collaborate with others to gang up on them so that they feel lonely or outcasted.
- I don’t argue with them or try to force them to believe what I believe. I’ve never seen this work. True obedience to God’s Word is only possible if it’s not forced upon the receiver.
- I don’t share that they’re going to hell or that the wrath of God will be upon them. The wrath of God happens to me all the time and I’m saved! His wrath is usually allowing me to wallow in the mess I make every day.
I love them.
Jesus loves them.
At Bible journaling ministries, our mission is to help others grow in the Word creatively. But part of that growth in the Word is living it out in our daily lives.
What Does the Bible Say is a Good Approach?
You may be asking yourself, how do I live out my beliefs while allowing others to have a different belief at the same time? That’s a great question. There are so many great examples of confrontation in the Bible.
What would Jesus do? He turned over tables for his beliefs, right (Matthew 21:12-13)? Yes! But, read the context before you start turning over tables in your own home or church. Ask yourself who was there? Why were they there? What were they doing? Why did Jesus do what he did? Why did God allow this in the Bible? What can I gain from understanding this story?
Jesus also didn’t condemn the adulterous in the Bible (John 8:3-11). He said, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone at her.” What’s the context here? Who was here? Why were they here? What were they doing? Why did Jesus do what he did? Why did God allow this in the Bible? What can I gain from understanding this story?
Why Does God Tolerate Other Religions?
Why does God tolerate other religions when he could clearly force others to believe in Him? I have one answer to this. FOR HIS GLORY. Of course, for the sanctification of Christians isn’t a bad answer either.
Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:15-16: The saying is faithful and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. However, for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first, Jesus Christ might display all his patience, for an example of those who were going to believe in him for eternal life.
Paul was the chief of all sinners. He admits it, and we know what he did to Christians before his conversion because that also is in the Bible. Yet, God chose him to display patience as a leader to the Gentiles. Patience and grace is God’s character. Is it yours?
You Are Called
You are called to help non-believers! And you should try! Especially if the Holy Spirit has put it on your heart. In doing so, consider your approach. Are you doing it with the patience and grace that God extends to you?
Pray to God and ask Him to show you how to approach someone. There are many examples in the Bible that display this perfectly, most of them are in a one on one setting, and done with love and care.
It’s so important to share the good news! Ask yourself…did you come to know the Lord through fear or by love? I hope it was through love.
God will call you to witness to those in your life. Heed his calling. It is not easy and it will take time! Pray to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to share how you can do this with the individual. Then build a relationship with the person he’s placed on your path so that you both can have a respectful, and loving discussion about our Savior.
Jesus loves her (and him).
Jesus loves you.
I love you too.