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 threaten them.
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.
Absolutely on target, Tracie! I find that just loving people and showing that grace that only God can give us frequently opens up a dialogue for us. I can’t tell you the people who have said thank you for not beating them in the head with the Bible or trying to shove scripture down their throats. Nobody can hear if their ears are ringing. My prayer is that people can see Jesus in me and want what I’ve got. Indeed, showing that we’re a part of a vast and loving family is much more valuable than ‘fire insurance’, in my opinion.
Thank you, Kathy! Amen to that.
We don’t want your help, your proselytizing, you religious indoctrination, your obsession with conversion, your god or your “supposed”Jesus. Leave the non-believers alone. We are very, VERY happy, moral, ethical and compassionate without your invented religion and your hypocrisy. Please leave us alone.
I’m not sure why you are telling me you don’t need my help. I’m confident that I didn’t reach out to you, but for some reason, you were drawn here. I recommend investigating why you were drawn here and why you felt the need to post your comment. It doesn’t appear that you are indeed very happy.
Just as you can express your unbelief freely – I also have the freedom to express my belief on my blog and to whom I encounter and befriend.
Looks to me like someone running from the truth. I know I was a runner myself. Angeline we will be praying for you!
Such a good response Larry – we should always be lifting up people in prayer – especially the lost ones. Thanks for your comment!
Leave us alone for God’s sake
I’m confident that I didn’t reach out to you (I was “leaving you alone”), but for some reason, you were drawn here. I recommend investigating why you were drawn here and why you felt the need to post your comment. As you have freedom of speech, so do I.
You give some good suggestions, but with all due respect, your last comment under “What I Don’t do” isn’t correct. You wrote that you don’t share about the wrath of God with non-believers because “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.” One of the things that the Bible reveals is that believers never experience the wrath of God. That is what they are saved from. That is the point, or at least half of it, of repenting and calling upon the LORD for salvation. We are saved to God’s eternal blessing and from eternal damnation (God’s wrath). The mess you wallow in every day is just the natural consequence of your actions, and while God does chastise His children (Heb 12:5-6), He never pours His wrath upon them. Finally, yes, I agree that we absolutely need to pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance because every person we share the gospel with is different; however, to say that one must not “share that they’re going to hell” is not sharing the whole truth of the gospel, which is what we are called to do.
Excellent point! I’ve updated my post to be more clear about what I was trying to say. Thank you for your feedback!
You are welcome! Iron sharpening iron! Again, thank you for sharing your insights. We all need help in sharing God’s truth.
Blessings in Jesus!