Four-Thoughts-from-Non-Christians-about-Christians

UPDATE: Listen to the podcast on this topic.

Several weeks ago, I wrote a post about how non-Christians perceive Christians. The article was based on an interchange with one non-Christian lady on this blog. I was surprised at the number of responses, including those from a number of non-Christians. I am grateful for all who responded.

A few Christians were concerned that I might be compromising my beliefs and convictions by writing the post. To the contrary, I still hold firmly to the exclusivity of the gospel and the mandate to evangelize. But, while I am convicted about the never-changing message of the gospel, I am concerned how we messengers sometimes treat others who don’t believe as we do.

For now, I have provided four examples of what non-Christians are asking of Christians. They were all comments at different points on my blog. Each section represents a different non-Christian.

Demonstrate Respect and the Interest of Others

I can certainly understand that it might be very uncomfortable for you to witness – as a technique for attracting potential followers, it seems very forced and artificial, and it renders any attempt to express real friendship towards the recipient seem insincere and not a little sinister.

I’m an atheist, so you may be tempted to disregard my views. However, I’ve been on the receiving end of numerous attempts to witness, and I’ve never felt that any of the people who made these attempts had my interests at heart, or would offer me the basic respect of considering the possibility, however faint, that I’d put genuine thought into my position; that I might be sincere in my lack of belief.

Try to put yourself in the shoes of your prey – I suspect that you’ll become better people for making the effort.

Don’t Condescend and Discriminate

First I want to thank you for posting this, for being forthcoming and for all the encouraging comments.

I use the moniker darb because I live in the heart of the Bible belt and am concerned about repercussions of being a public atheist. We are, after all, the most reviled groups in America, even behind Muslims. I am concerned about hiring bias. I am concerned about downsizing bias. I am concerned about my children being ostracized or bullied. I am concerned because I have seen it happen.

It is SO refreshing to hear the accepting attitudes I hear in these comments. I only wish I could be assured that these were majority attitudes amongst Christians. I wish that good folks like you would speak out against those who would discriminate against me. I wish I could be myself without fearing proselytizing, condescension or worse. After all, we are all just humans trying to make our way in this uncertain world.

Really Care about the Non-Christian and Show It

This is very much how I tend to perceive approaches from would-be witnesses. I’ve read several posts in which people (believers) have expressed the desire to witness through ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’ and I’d personally have a lot more respect for someone whose life expressed the spirit of their religious belief as opposed to attempting to fill that quota. The Christians I’ve remembered with fondness were those who actually cared about other people; the ones who appeared to express the legalistic, judgmental and relentless and cultish urge to convert were, honestly, kind of a pain in the —. Not people I respected or would want know.

As a non-Christian, I have to say that 90% of these comments continue to back up the point from the article. Most of them talk about “waiting to develop a relationship before witnessing” or something of the sort. There are over 20 major religions in the world, never mind the number of smaller subsets. Has it ever just occurred to Christians that we just don’t believe the same thing you do? That we don’t think you’re right? That we don’t, at any point, want your prayers or your opinions on how we should think? If Christians are going to be so narrow minded that they are only going to have relationships with people that think the same thing they do, or think that they are better than people that don’t agree with them, why would we want to have a relationship? If you can’t look past my religious preferences (or lack thereof) and see me as a PERSON, I’ll just hang out with my open minded, non-preachy friends.

Demonstrate Compassion and Respect

Here’s a bright idea: STOP PRESSURING OTHERS TO JOIN YOUR RELIGION. If someone doesn’t want to join your church, that doesn’t make them a jerk. They’re entitled to their own beliefs, just like you’re entitled to yours. I’m sorry if that sounds harsh, but if you really want the rest of the world to accept you, then you need to accept the rest of the world. Stop focusing on how many souls you can save and start focusing on being a good person. And by ‘good person’, I mean being compassionate and generous, not paraphrasing a book written three thousand years ago on a street corner.

I don’t hate Christians, but because of the way I’ve been treated in the past, I’m wary of them. If you want to be respected, then do some respecting in return.

What Do You Think?

What do you Christians think about these admonitions from non-Christians? What do you who aren’t Christians want to say to the Christian community?

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Comments

  1. Bruce Garner says

    These folks have shared words we should all take to heart. I can look back some 50 years ago when I converted to a denomination that was not the majority in my high school or the community at large. I was told point blank that I was now going to hell because I was no longer a member of the majority/dominant denomination. I ache for the man who even worried about loss of his job if he was too open about his beliefs. I have lived in the Bible belt all my life. I understand his fears.

    We have a model in Jesus Christ. He never coerced or pressured or even “nudged” people into faith. He modeled what we now call a “Christian life.” He taught. He healed without regard to condition or status or religion. He respected all, especially those on the margins. If we are to be His followers, what makes us think we should do things differently than He did them?

    • Siobhan says

      But Jesus only healed those who had Faith.

      Pointing out those who deny Christ as Lord and Savior will not go to heaven and they need to repent and believe I argue IS LOVING. I don’t want even someone who does evil to miss Heaven, for Hell is an eternity of torment.

      Of course “non christians” don’t believe as we do, we should plead with them in a loving way to repent and believe. To go and make disciples like Christ commanded us to. Otherwise you would be unloving to not warn them of the wrath to come.

      • Bruce Garner says

        Re-read what I posted. These WERE Christians passing judgment on me, a fellow Christian, because I had changed denominations!

    • Andy says

      Let’s be careful – to be faithful to Christ and Scripture, and to not let our own foolish human tendencies cloud our thinking.

      “Stop focusing on how many souls you can save and start focusing on being a good person. And by ‘good person’, I mean being compassionate and generous, not paraphrasing a book written three thousand years ago on a street corner.”:
      To obey this atheist means disobeying Jesus, whose last words were to make disciples of all nations. By the way, Jesus, his apostles, and the prophets did stand on street corners and preach (in fact, the public marketplaces were the main places were ideas were exchanged in those days).

      ” He respected all, especially those on the margins. If we are to be His followers, what makes us think we should do things differently than He did them?”:
      “fear God who can cast both body and soul into hell” “if you being evil” “woe to you…hypocrites” “you make them twice as much a child of hell as you” “Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?”-Jesus
      In other words, I agree that we must do things like Jesus – we must call people out on their sin and tell them that they will go to hell if they don’t, like Jesus did.

      Lastly, “I ache for the man who even worried about loss of his job if he was too open about his beliefs. I have lived in the San Francisco area all my life. I understand his fears.” I know people who have lost their jobs for their Christian beliefs.

      If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.-John 15:18-20

    • Charles Allen says

      Allow me as a fool just to just speak the truth from my heart. I believe in Christ Jesus and the full purpose of God, but I do not believe in christianity today. The reason being, all the christians today can do is destroy lives with their self-righteous and self-indulgent ways. They love persecuting each other, and are so divided, filled with envy and strife. They are clearly not an example of light, but are caught up in their own dark world of deceit. Preachers and teachers are the holier than God, and use and abuse others for financial gain, and this is truth. For 24 years now I have tried to walk the christian walk, and have now had enough of this falsehood of christians. Yes, I know God’s Living Word and so does the Devil, so as many christians have called me the Devil for speaking the truth, let this Devil then be kind enough to say to the christians of today, “Get your lives in order, and start being true christians according to God’s Will, because you are all on the way to join me in Hell if you do not start obeying God’s Voice.”. Show me a true christian today, and then I might just become a christian. I honestly believe The Lord Jesus Christ is disgusted in the christians of today. And believe me, this goes for preachers and teachers too. There will be more whores entering the Kingdom of God than christians, and this is fact. Argue and get angry, this is all christians today can do.

  2. Dave says

    While I appreciate each and every thought listed above, the real question is how does the Christian honor both the feelings of the non-Christian and the divine mandate to evangelize?

    • Thom Rainer says

      Dave -

      There will be those who object to the message we share. The gospel is offensive. We must never compromise it or sharing about it. But many non-Christians are simply asking that we demonstrate love and kindness to them. I think our main lesson is to make certain that we show the love of Christ even as we talk about the love of Christ.

      • Cj Gross says

        It seems that many folks want to know me before the Jesus I know. In fact as I was witnessing to an individual he was reluctant to hear what I had to say because in his words “but, I don’t know you.” The longer I am a Christian the more convinced I am that lifestyle evangelism is the way to go with many people. Proclamation evangelism has its place but we have more opportunities to develop relationships through which the love of Christ is shown which also gives us more credibility to share the gospel.

        • MM says

          Reminds me of the old quote, “There are 5 gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and YOU! And most people won’t read the first 4.”

          • Siobhan says

            Right, well they hated God, Jesus, it is to be expected if I live like Him people now will hate me too! if I open my mouth or not, there are those who hate Christians, they call them “goodie two shoes” or “holier than thou”. The bible tells us they are children of Satan, blind, and dead. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God and how will they hear it if you don’t tell them with Words?

        • PJ says

          So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17

          People must hear the Gospel for salvation. Where does the Bible say that people are saved through lifestyle evangelism and without preaching?

      • Dereck says

        The goal of all my relationships (with believers and non-believers) is pointing them to Christ. Is that not the ultimate demonstration of love? Let me ask non-Christian this…If I knew the bridge was out up ahead and told you nothing about it would you think me a decent person or a monster as I watch you drive off the edge to your death? This is a metaphor for the Gospel, I have eternally significant truth to share. My goal is to love you enough to be able to share it in such a way that I am not an obstacle to your understanding of that Truth.

        • Travis Grant says

          Dereck, I agree 100%. Our mission on this earth is not to invite non-believers to church, or to convert them to our “religion”, but to preach the gospel message that saves the life of a died sinner. The truth we share is to save lives out of love. If we weren’t concerned about the eternal state of an individual that’s when we are wrong.

    • Scott Brown says

      You can easily do both by doing exactly as Christ did… *LIVE* the life, and accept ‘no’ for an answer when approaching someone with your religion. Bruce pretty much hit it on the head, IMO. I know if someone feels the desire to push Christianity on me more than their own God found acceptable…at best, I’m going to find them a poor source of information about the religion, since they seem to feel they know the religion better than their own savior. Heck, for me, it’s gotten to the point I use two separate words to differentiate between Christians and the idiots, whom I refer to as xtains.

      • PJ says

        Love is telling someone the Gospel. People can’t trust in the Lord Jesus Christ without the proclamation of the Gospel.

    • Kevin Rettig says

      Dave, in looking at human physiology, God designed us with two ears and only one mouth. Perhaps this is to remind us that we should listen twice as much as we speak. Unfortunately, most of us are terrible listeners. We would rather open our mouths and show people around us that we don’t care for them rather than open our ears and listen to their stories. I have found that when I stop and listen to atheists or agnostics regarding their beliefs, asking clarifying questions along the way, they often want to hear what I believe or even what the Bible has to say. Asking such questions can lead into a wonderful sharing opportunity, and when such ‘Divine appointments’ are much more about planting seeds rather than trying to force a person to become a Christ-follower, then there is no pressure and a good conversation can take place. As my professor of Evangelism taught us in seminary, it is more important to be able to continue the conversation about Christ later than try and give them everything they need to know in one sitting.

      • Jen says

        As an atheist, I am very interested in our religions and the humanity behind them. I absolutely adore chatting about spirituality and humanity with the many friends and family I know who do believe. Like Kevin said here (Thank you, sir!) I’ve learned more about religion from frank conversations where I interacted with my Christian friends on a personal basis without judgement, but with love and curiosity. They weren’t interested in getting me to sign on the dotted line. They accepted that everyone has to make their own path and that mine is valid even if it doesn’t match theirs. That is the way to open doors to hearts and minds and it’s also the way to heal and love everyone.

        • Edward Allen-Palmer says

          The question that is continuously asked today is; “Is christianity true or false? Well with proven results as found within my research and study, it is without doubt false. These findings will be unveiled in my book, HOW CHRISTIANTY MADE ME FALL. After 19 years of intensive study of the christian Bible, and evaluating the lives of christians today, it is without doubt that from church leaders down, confusion, lies and selfish motives rule 90% of christians today. This confirms that christianity is deadly and most evil. Do not judge us they love to say, while they stand with a knife behind their backs, just ready to destroy the beliefs and religions of others.

    • Kim says

      This is disheartening to hear, but yet a big truth in the way a lot of Christians act and not just to unbelievers but to believers as well. I was happy to read the comments and hoping to add a little more. As Christians, most of us have failed to communicate the most important thing in the gospel, and that is LOVE!
      Unconditional Love! Second Commandment in the bible is to Love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:39) YOURSELF! Do you judge yourself as harshly as you judge others? As I am nearing 50 this year and have been a Christian most of my life, I have learned some hard lessons and continue to seek the Lord first with MY heart and what HE wants of me. I have hurt people I love in the “Name of the Lord”. OH Father . . . when did you turn over the reigns to me? We take the bible and think, “Oh, I have permission to demoralize those I try to witness to who do not accept the Gospel.” We have to remember that, even though it breaks God’s heart, there are those who will not choose the Gospel. We are to STILL LOVE them, regardless, its a COMMAND, not an OPTION! No one person is better than another, EVER! Give respect for those living the life they choose, doesn’t mean to compromise your beliefs, doesn’t mean to stop living a life of example. We as Christians are so busy trying to bully those to Jesus instead of living the life God asks of us, and that is a life of
      example. If you feel “anxious” to help others to believe the Gospel, then go back to Philippians 4:6-7 and read about being anxious for nothing and in everything presenting your requests to God in prayer, etc. (Paraphrased) but truly read it. And also, Matthew 7:1-5, Do not judge, or you too will be judged. Because we are Sons and Daughters of the King, we think we have the right to judge others, this scripture tells us how wrong we are. I lovingly share this with a heart that hurts for Christians and Non-Christians. I know how it is to want a loved one to except the Gospel, having my own father take a totally different road after his second marriage. I want him, I need him to be a Christian! You know what the Lords been telling me? HE’S in control, and my father, HE is making HIS CHOICE! How sad for me, tears, I love my Dad and want to see him in Heaven according to what I believe. But he has his OWN choice, his OWN road. It’s up to him and God, not me. But, I continue to LOVE my dad and be an example and not shove my beliefs down his throat. Which is what God is REALLY calling me to do. Wait patiently on Him and trust Him. Remember the Holy Spirit is the one that will speak to the hearts, not a pushy person. I’ve made my choice and I’m suppose to pray for His and show by example. Don’t get me wrong, my husband and I have witnessed to him in love and patients. We mush never stop speaking of the Gospel, but to learn the correct way. Giving respect and space along the way. Love, Love, Love . . . it’s a big thing!

  3. says

    Thanks Thom for this post. Those of us who are Pastors must do a better job of teaching those we lead that we can love and respect non-believers without compromising our beliefs. Too often it seems it is one or the other but that is not the case. We are called to live a different life yet we are to still be deeply immersed in our society.

  4. tim smith says

    I need to be faithful to Christ. I must always be growing in loving God and loving people. If I am successful in that, most of the world will still hate me and the Gospel I seek to share. I must care for all, no matter their beliefs, and respect each individual in obedience to God. My ultimate goal is not to convince others to agree with me but to be pleasing to The One Who loves me so much He died to redeem me. I am thankful for conversation with non-believers and hope to be pleasing to Jesus in interaction with all people. When I am faithful to Him I pray many will be drawn to Him but that is His work not mine. Sadly, many “Christians” are more interested in gaining converts to the “Christian” sub culture than in walking in obedience to Christ. And sadly, the closer we walk with Christ, the more much of the world will hate us. So, to quote an old song, “live for Jesus, that’s what matters”. Loving God, loving others with God’s love, That is my goal.

    • says

      Amen from a former Christian! If Christians truly rested in Jesus and took their cues from Him alone rather than churchianity culture and peers, this would be moot. So well said. I wish there were more Christians like you out there.

      • Kevin Rettig says

        I would wish the same Diane. Perhaps if there were you would not identify yourself as a former Christian; likewise perhaps also the Church would have many millions more people gathering to worship our Lord.

    • rachel says

      i know people from many ares of life some beleave in christ others dont ,some times i would talk with the guys that didnt and listen to their oppinions they never put me down for my believs and i never with theirs but what i learnt is that God places us in some really difficult places and yes pepole hate you for being christian but did pepole not hate Jesus ,yes they did but he still sat with them and honerd them for who they are and that is what i have always done so why is it that people who go to church can not do the same ,1 they are not truly intrested in pepole out side of church 2 they feel as though its waisting their time because they dont know how to truly speak to a none beleaver 3 they dont truly listen to how Jesus tought us to help none beleavers become one in faith .
      if you truly listened and understood onanother you would come to realize that a lot of none beleavers actually dont understand adout the bible and they shrug it off because there is a lot of pepole out there who dont truly know how to help them become true to god
      god bless ever one

  5. Nick Horton says

    Your headings are good. We should do those things. The goal of evangelism is definitely to see people come to Christ for the glory of God. We can do that in respectful, loving, compassionate, and caring ways. We should not be afraid to engage people in conversation about what they believe.

    I wouldn’t worry about an unbeliever’s dislike of the gospel. I see their complaints of sharing our faith, have heard them personally, and I’m not surprised. They reject God. It’s not surprising then that they reject any attempt by Christians to tell them about Jesus.

    However, I am not called to tell them comfortable news. Or affirming news. Or news they want to hear. I am called to tell them the good news of Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, and what that means for them. This isn’t lack of compassion or respect, It is supreme compassion. So much so that I disregard their uneasiness to tell them how to be reconciled to God and have eternal life. I respect them so much as someone made in the image of God that I would see them know Christ and live fully, rather than the pale shadows of life the unregenerate live.

    In all this; “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Col 4:5-6

    • says

      I agree whole-heartedly with this comment. I think the headings are excellent. I believe that we should follow all four of them to the letter. And from reading Dr. Rainer for a while now, I believe that he sincerely wants to be a strong witness for Christ, and the point of this post is to encourage other Christians to do the same.

      Dr. Rainer, I think that the challenge here may be that you haven’t encountered many atheists on the internet. They tend to be a sordid, manipulative bunch, usually pretending to only dislike our method, but not our message. I have come to realize this to be a farce. They attack our message through our method, which will never be right in their eyes, unless we keep our mouths shut. One of the commenters actually referred to us as seeking “prey” which reveals the true state of his/her heart. Christians, true Christians, that is, are seeking people to witness to in hopes they will receive Christ, which I know you know.

      So my question is this, why give these people a voice on a Christian website? They have plenty of atheist sites where they can spread their hatred of Christianity.

      I would be interested in hearing from Christians who encountered harsh witnesses before they were saved, because I believe they would be coming from a place of honesty. But it’s just hard for me to ever take an atheist seriously on these matters, I’ve just seen to much sock puppetry from them on the internet.

      As always, I appreciate the work, and I believe that your motives are right.

      • says

        Nick and Tom,

        I’m sorry to see you have such a negative view of non-Christians. I know you believe the gospel message saves people from their sins, so of course you would value that very highly. And even if the person you’re preaching to doesn’t want the message — they need it, right?

        But think of it this way: When you’re sick and need a shot, do you want to go to the doctor that stabs you with the needle, or the one that gently administers the injection as compassionately as possible?

        If you honestly want to help people and assist them in coming to Christianity, then you should care about how they perceive your efforts. Otherwise, you’re likely wasting your time and doing more harm than good.

        • says

          Dr. Rainer, Nate’s comment is a prime example of what you get from atheists on the internet, which is advice on how to be Christian while calling you mean-spirited. This is the typical “you’re a hateful Christian” response from someone who hates our God enough to declare that he doesn’t exist. I’m not saying that talking with atheists is unprofitable, I do it all the time, but when these conversations take place on the internet, it’s usually non-productive.

        • says

          Tom, if I offended you in some way, I’m sorry. That wasn’t my intent. I’m also sorry if you’ve had negative experiences with atheists in the past. However, we’re not a homogenous bunch. Just as Christians can run the spectrum between considerate and hateful, so do atheists.

          And just as a clarification, I don’t “hate” God. I see no point in that, just as I see no point in hating Zeus. I simply don’t believe in either of them.

      • Thom Rainer says

        Thanks so much Tom. There are times when I have to reject a comment for various reasons. That is why I moderate all comments. I like open discussion, but I like civil discussion. So if anyone, atheist or evangelical, violates the spirit of this blog, they will not have an audience here.

      • JoAnne Timothy says

        Jesus was still Jesus no matter who came across His path or who He dealt with while walking this earth! He is our pattern. If we are focused on living a life out after His pattern – then we have no problem meeting people where they are because we are who we are in Christ and strong in it. People who don’t know Christ deserve our compassion and example – so that the Holy Spirit can do His work. If we are Christians we should have no problem being who God called us to be – even to the least likely unbeliever! I don’t know about others but I WANT to live a different life 24 hours a day so that Christ might put me in a place where being who I am can help someone else see Jesus. I WANT to be relevant to the Word of God and implement all facets of the Faith in my life so that when someone has a need and I can meet it – I am not checking first to see if they are a Christian or unbeliever. God will then take that witness and bear fruit in His time for His purpose. Somehow, we have gotten off track by judging each other and not remembering that we are to follow the pattern Jesus set forth in His Word. God help us if we are scared to be who He called us to be with non-believers. Let’s put on Jesus and forget politics and remember compassion and love!

        • Betty says

          I love this in every way!! Thank you so much for sharing this; your heart and passion is so obvious through what you wrote. This is both very encouraging and very challenging to me!

  6. Jessica says

    As a non believer I want to say thank you. I’ve yet to have any evangelical be polite or respectful.

  7. Jim Jacobs says

    Thom,

    Thanks for sharing these open and honest comments. I’ve always struggled with knowing when to “tell” and knowing when just to “show”. The theme I saw occuring in each comment was that these people want to be treated like Jesus treated others. May this be a wake up call to those of us who claim to be His followers.

  8. Joyce Marie Pace says

    I was raised in a strict, Bible belt home where following the law of the Bible was the ultimate goal regardless of what others thought of me. Yet our house was also always the one where all of our friends came because they knew they were loved and accepted. I did not fully escape having a critical attitude though, especially when it came to what some view as the most offensive of sins, such as a homosexual lifestyle. I truly felt that by avoiding these types of people I was being a “good” Christian. Then God had the audacity to place me in an office working with a high number of homosexuals. I was so mad at Him that I decided I would share my faith so boldly, which was against the rules of the workplace, that I would get myself fired. God has such a sense of humor. The more I interacted with these people, the more compassionate I became towards them, not because I agreed with them, but because I started seeing them as broken, hurting people who struggled in the same ways that I did. Once God changed my heart about how to interact with and love them, I became quite good friends with several them. The pinnacle of this was when I had to work on Thanksgiving with a scant crew. When I entered the office, I came up and stood behind my friend, a gay male who was seated, put my arms around his shoulders & told him I was thankful that he was my friend. He began to cry & told me that he considered it a privilege that someone like me would call someone like him a friend, because after all, Christians hated gays. I began to cry too (who wouldn’t?) & told him that he’d been hanging out with the wrong Christians.

    It’s fine to be a Christian, but God showed me for nearly 18 months that you need to be the right kind of Christian. That takes real courage. Amazingly enough, not once did I get criticized or reprimanded over boldly sharing my faith. However, God taught me to meet people where they were at before I presumed to tell them how they should be living differently. I will always treasure that period in my life, even though it was one of my most difficult. I will never fully know the impact I had there. To my knowledge, none of those people ever gave their life to Christ. I do hope, however, that some seeds were planted that fell on fertile soil and that someday, when someone else loves them the way Jesus does, that they’ll respond & I’ll get to see them in heaven. That is our ultimate reward.

    • Bruce Garner says

      I gave my life to Christ well over 50 years ago. You know what has always been remarkable about that? God made it clear to me that my being gay was never an issue. The issue was that I always needed to love the Lord my God with all my heart and soul and mind and strength and to love my neighbor as myself. The focus of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has never been on such issues as sexual orientation. It has always been on relationships and whether they were right relationships, whether with God or each other. And by simply looking at what Jesus condemned and what he did not, that’s pretty easy to determine. A right relationship is one that is NOT coercive, exploitive or abusive. It respects the God-given dignity of every human being and it seeks to serve Christ in all. So simple that we either miss it altogether or cannot believe it can be so simple. When I stand before my Maker, I doubt I will be asked a single question about my sexual orientation. I WILL be asked how well I loved my neighbor, if I fed the hungery, watered the thirsty, clothed the naked, visited the sick and imprisoned…for in doing these things for others I did them for Him.

      • Thom Rainer says

        To all -

        I posted Bruce’s comments since I did not say anything otherwise. I respectfully request that we stay on topic. The issue of the Bible and homosexuality is a topic discussed in many other venues. This blog’s focus is church health.

        • Bruce Garner says

          With all due respect to you Thom, and I truly appreciate what you write, sexual orientation and gender issues are a big part of what makes for a healthy church. What I wrote was mostly in response to the post before me, but it also speaks to how those outside the Body of Christ view us. Among younger folks, including the “spiritual but no religious” group, one of the main criticisms is the way the church has dealt with both the role of women in the church and the role and acceptance or lack of acceptance of those of a different sexual orientation. We are labelled as hypocritical for zeroing in on those issues for which to hold folks accountable while ignoring the myriad of other issues that Jesus called us to address. A healthy church is one where all can find a place and find it, in the words of that wonderful old hymn: “just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me.” No church will be truly healthy unless and until it addresses these two issues. Health is a holistic circumstance and we cannot piece meal what goes into it….whether visible or hovering below the surface, gender and human sexuality issues are a part of all churches. Not addressing them imperils the true health of our churches.

          On a different note, is there spell check on this site? Some days my fingers can never find the correct keys on the keyboard! So please excuse typos that I may miss.

          • Kevin Rettig says

            Bruce, your testimony reminds us that we are to be compassionate toward all who are in spiritual need, just as Jesus modeled. Such compassion is one important aspect of church health — because out of our compassion for others, seeds are planted; ministry is done and lives are touched.

  9. says

    Great article! You’re really showing compassion and thoughtfulness in how you’re dealing with this issue, and I very much appreciate that.

    Personally, I think what all people should be striving for, whether they’re Christians or not, is open-mindedness. It’s natural for all of us to feel like we “know” what’s true, none of us can be 100% sure. So when we talk to people who disagree with us, we should at least consider the possibility of their beliefs being true just as we want them to consider the possibility of our beliefs being true.

    As an atheist, I can tell you that most non-believers are not evil, stubborn infidels who secretly know Christianity is true but rebel against it. Instead, most of us were once believers who became disillusioned for a myriad of reasons. We’ve come to our current conclusions through a lot of thought, study, and difficulty. Losing one’s religion is a very painful process. So if Christians want to have traction with non-believers, don’t forget that we’re also humans who are just doing our best to live well. We are not bad people. We have real reasons for our beliefs, just as Christians do. Finally, try to consider the possibility that we could be right. I think aiming for that approach will lead to a good conversation with friendships intact, even if you’re never able to come to an agreement.

    • Thom Rainer says

      Thanks for your comments Nate, and for your civil spirit in what could become an antagonistic discussion.

  10. says

    Personally, I am grateful for the insight such interviews with non-believers offers to us as Christians. I’ve been a follower of Christ for 54 years now and one ever present struggle has been how to fulfill His command to “go and make disciples”. I can honestly say that I have arrived at long last to a point of being comfortable as a witness. That comfort is rooted in the conviction on my part that salvation is God’s work. The greatest need of lost people is not to hear from me, but it is to hear from and experience God. The very last thing I ever want to do is persuade another person to pray a prayer for salvation. At the same time, no experience compares with sharing the truth of His Word with a person in whom God is already working in some way which allows them to at least be open minded. And I am completely comfortable with planting seeds of the Gospel whether or not I see results.

  11. Kirby says

    If we listened to these suggestions, we would stop witnessing at all. We may need to do a better job of seeing unbelievers as real people, but we cannot keep quiet about what we have seen and heard.

    • Thom Rainer says

      That certainly is not what I wish to communicate Kirby. Certainly we must speak. Your reference to Acts 4:20 is right on. But as we speak, I would hope that we could do so with love, kindness, and humility.

  12. Levi says

    Dr. Rainer:

    I feel many of the things expressed in this article are true to an extent but there is also a reality that non-believers will not like us and may even twist the reasons for why they do not based on their own presumptions. The world will dislike us, but perhaps they need to dislike us for the right reasons?

    I think of some of McArthur’s work and how we often ignore the passages in the gospels where Jesus was not very “nice” and turned people away by his teachings and even went as far to call people “sons of Satan.” The line is very hard to see in my opinion, and I do not think our goal should ever be to be liked by unbelievers. Nor should our goal be to not be liked by unbelievers. Rather, we should Christ’s Kingdom first and the rest will added to us.

    • Thom Rainer says

      Thanks Levi. These posts and comments are not about being liked or not liked. They are about speaking the truth in love. Jesus did express disgust toward people at times; but most of those comments were directed toward religious leaders.

  13. Charles Lord says

    It would be helpful and humbling to receive verbal feedback about how we witness in our encounters and relationships with non Christians. I appreciate your summary statements above each comment. It is helpful to listen and learn, because witnessing is for the sake of others and for the gospel.
    We must pursue God’s will for others, and to be gracious and generous toward those who are offended, defensive or cynical. There is are 2 elements in witnessing that would transform it, and perhaps, empower it. The persecution of the witness, and the love for “enemies and persecutors”.
    I are examples in my own life when my witness (life and word) were done in the flesh instead of empowered by the Spirit. Witnessing is spiritual warfare and even in the mildest sense, is confrontational. May God give believers confidence, sensitivity, compassion, and a deep love for God and others.

  14. Scott Brown says

    Two experiences I have had that I feel appropriate to share. Many years ago, I had someone coming door to door, discussing religion. I was bored at the time, and they were being highly respectful, never telling me what I believed was wrong, just asking me to think of things in a different light. I happily conversed with him for quite a while, and he did get me thinking in quite a few different areas. Later that month, someone else came to the house when my family and I were getting home, and approached my son…and, after talking to him *VERY* briefly, flat out told him that he was going to hell, and made him cry. THAT ‘person’ had the riot act read to him, and was told to never come near me or my family again…and reaffirmed my choice to stay away from churches, and Christianity, in general. Yes, his statement was most likely correct..but I refuse to be part of an institution that feels bullying small children is in *ANY* way acceptable…(Speaking strictly for his ‘church’ here, not the religion as a whole…though I will admit, it did tarnish my view of the entire religion to some degree)

  15. Ryan says

    While I do agree with all that was said in the article, that we as believers should be more genuine and honest about witnessing to non-believers, the comments from the last non-believer come a little under-handed there. He asks that we respect him and then turns and labels the Word as a book written 3,000 years ago on a street corner, obviously demeaning it. And while I understand that he does not regard it as sacred like we as believers do, it’s a bit hard to honor his command for respect when he’s not offering much to us to begin with. Much less explain Christ and the faith to someone who doesn’t want to hear about the only book that contains all of the relevant information.

  16. says

    Thom, I’ve been a Christian for 72 years and “sold out to the Lordship of Jesus” for 54. At least over the past 54 years I’ve seen more non-believers turned away from Jesus by the, some times well meaning, dogmatism of Christians than by any other way. It’s those times that I just want to sit down and cry, please Jesus don’t let that person go to hell because of what just happened. Some times we are our, and His, own worst enemies.

  17. says

    I am a believer in Jesus, and I think I totally agree with most that was said by the non-believers. I think many christian’s only concern is to just get someone to say a prayer so they can chalk another one up for themselves, sadly. What we should be doing is introducing this amazing GOD, who would rather die than be without them, that each one is a chosen one that is deeply loved and has a purpose. That HE desires a relationship with them.

  18. Joey says

    Great article for us to learn from. We need to always proclaim the gospel with love. God’s elect will respond.

  19. Deege says

    I haven’t read all the comments so I apologize if I duplicate what someone else may have covered. Bottom line, I believe we are trying to do things in our own strength. If Christians truly followed the methods (and ALL truths) outlined in the New Testament, I think our results would be completely different. There will always be those who reject the Truth. We are told that in the Word. But I find usually the so-called Christians that are the noisiest are the ones lacking the power of the Holy Spirit in their life. If Christians were really seeking God by deep prayer lives and making His Word their first priority, our results would be different. Most Christians I know barely spend 5-10 minutes a day in prayer and maybe that much time in the Word. We are, for lack of a better world, a proud people. We approach people with the attitude that “we’re right, you’re wrong” and it spills over into witnessing. If we were truly humbled before The Lord and being Spirit led each day, our results might be different. When I read the book of Acts, I see men who were praying earnestly for boldness and being led by the Spirit. The Spirit is the one who does the work THRU us. You can witness til you are blue in the face but the Spirit is the one who draws men to Jesus. I believe Christians should spend more time praying, waiting on God and studying His Word and then, when the Spirit leads to witness, the results will come thru Him. I’d guess, more often than not, the door to witnessing would be opened by the individual ASKING because of seeing the purity of your life. No one wants to pay the price of sacrificing in prayer first though. We are too proud for that but we look down, without true compassion, on those that reject our arrogance in vebalizing our Christian head-knowledge.

  20. says

    I appreciate what is being said and agree that as Christians we need to stop focusing on “saving” someone & focus on loving them, serving them, respecting them, listening, being a good friend & neighbor. As God gives us opportunities to share our faith, do it in a considerate & respectful way. If they disagree & don’t want to hear it, we need to back off; this shows respect. The better we treat them the more likely they will be to listen when they’re ready. I believe in staying on friendly terms & maintaining the relationship inspite of differing beliefs. If we gain their respect, one day they may be open to hear what we have to say. It’s God who prepares their heart & woes them. It’s in His timing when they come to faith; we can’t make it happen. There is also the very effective witness of our testimony & what God had done for us; we can share that when the opportunity presents itself & do it in a nonoffensive manner.

  21. Dewanda says

    Live the life and stop being judgemental about other people beliefs, Respect every individual on all race and denominations .

  22. says

    Atheist Pen Jillette thanks Christians for witnessing to him. He says if they really believe that they say they do then he would hope they would witness to him to demonstrate they truly care about him; to do otherwise would be hypocritical. I’ve never heard him complain once about feeling like someone’s project or not being respected. Personally, the atheists I interact with at work are only interested in philosophical sparring and mockery- far less sensitive than those of the sample pool described in the article. They ridicule well intentioned, brave people who have tried to personally witness to them and can be quite brazen but otherwise pleasant people when the subject is something other than metaphysics.

    Respectfully Dr. Thom, I don’t think this is an evangelism methodology issue; it’s ecclesiology and discipleship. I think the American church has done a miserable job of equipping the saints to understand, both theologically and philosophically, the world around them through the lens of scripture and an even worse job at teaching them how to interact with it as compassionate followers of Christ with firm conviction. This post-Christian, post-modern culture has lapped the church and only a scarce few have even heard the starting gun.

  23. says

    Thank you so much for this post, so powerful. I can really see where these folk are coming from with their comments. When I put myself in their shoes I’m sure I would feel the same. In response to the comment above about balancing the need to evangelise…spread the good news… and to respect others, I would say these are one and the same. I see myself as called to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this world, not to be his megaphone. I want to do as Jesus saw his Father do. I want to love God, love others as myself. Zaccheus’ heart melted when Jesus treated him as a person, respected him, spent time with him and modelled a different way of doing life. In terms of how many come to know Jesus through me, I’m not keeping count, there may be many who I never know about, there may be some I would dearly long their whole loves to be in relationship with Jesus, and still I might not know if they make a choice in their dying moments. All I need to know is that I’ve loved people and have been obedient to he who loved me first, even when I was far away from him, back turned and utterly undeserving of his love. That’s all. It’s the scandal of his amazing and all-sufficient grace.

  24. says

    None of these responses come as any surprise. And I think we need to pay attention. But, all of these responses also reveal the underlying reason for their negative view of Christ and His message. They do not want their lives to be changed by the Gospel. That is why most atheists are what they are. I try to get to know people in the community in which I serve and I try to share Jesus on a gentle and loving basis but the bottom line is the Gospel is offensive to non believers and always will be. Our “Niceness” is not going to make it any better. No one is going to come to the Lord except by the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said “shake the dust of you feet” and while that may be hard to do we cannot compromise our work because some think we are doing it wrong. We are not reaching people because we are not going, not because we are doing it wrong.

    • Bruce Garner says

      You write “None of these responses come as any surprise. And I think we need to pay attention. But, all of these responses also reveal the underlying reason for their negative view of Christ and His message. They do not want their lives to be changed by the Gospel.”

      A simple question: Are we looking for their lives to be changed by the Gospel the way WE view or envision change? Or are we open hearted and clear minded enough to allow for the possibility that the way we see the change and the way God sees the change may not always look the same? We tend to look at lives changed by the Gospel through our own experiences. How that happens in others may be totally different. God reaches each of us in God’s time and in God’s way.

  25. Derick Wilson says

    It was St Francis of Assissi that is credited with saying; “Wherever you go preach the gospel, and if necessary use words.” We would do well to learn from these observations and change our tack somewhat. For we are but a “clanging gong” to such as these because of our lack of love and compassion. We need to be Jesus to them, and allow His Spirit to do the same work He has done in us who now believe. Let’s not forget that we were once as they are, but by God’s grace.

    • Tremayne Manson says

      1. It has been proven that St. Francis of Assisi never said this
      2. This misquote is often used by people who want to avoid the awkwardness or discomfort of actually witnessing to people who might not accept or receive what is being said, and might even be antagonistic towards it.
      2. Saying “Preach the Gospel and if necessary use words” is like saying “Give me your phone number, and if necessary use digits.” The Gospel is a message to be lived AND proclaimed. How many people have surrendered their lives to Christ based solely on seeing a Christian’s life and example without someone explaining the basis for that example? There are plenty of moral, “good” people out there who don’t believe in Jesus. If you intend to preach the Gospel, at some point words will be necessary.

      • Bruce Garner says

        I’m curious as to who “proved” St. Francis did not say this? And whether he actually did or did not misses the point: Proclaiming the Gospel is largely a matter of how we live our lives as followers of Jesus Christ. Each life is a sermon. I’m often reminded of that in conversations with teens at my parish who are watching me and what I do and say!

        Evangelism has gotten a bad rap among so many because of the tendency of some to use our faith as a club to bludgeon folks about the head and shoulders rather than to witness to the faith in us. The old “hell fire and damnation” preaching model does nothing for me except make me walk away. I’m inclined to think such is also the case for many we want to reach. We CANNOT coerce, abuse, bully, intimidate folks into having faith in Jesus Christ. Nor should we ever use those tactics.

        I am always reminded of how the Gospel’s portray Jesus’ ministry: He invited. He offered. He used irony and some humor. He did not belittle or badger anyone into following him. His righteous anger and indignation were directed at “the religious” of his day who did not have the best reputation for living out what God had given them. He didn’t hang out with or do much ministry among the established of society. Instead he was always with those on the margins, those society cast out, those who lacked material wealth and status…….hardly where we come down today.

        We reap the work of those who have often abused the Gospel and abused people with it. We can learn from that or we can continue to repeat the same patterns, getting the same (lack of) results, also known as the definition of insanity. We can learn from history or be destined to repeat its mistakes. We can listen to those we have managed to turn away or we can go our insular and siloed ways wondering what happened???

        Bruce

  26. says

    I want to point out some things I read in the non-christians comments that I think lend themselves as to why I believe some of the objections to be disingenuous.

    “Has it ever just occurred to Christians that we just don’t believe the same thing you do? That we don’t think you’re right? That we don’t, at any point, want your prayers or your opinions on how we should think? If Christians are going to be so narrow minded that they are only going to have relationships with people that think the same thing they do, or think that they are better than people that don’t agree with them, why would we want to have a relationship? If you can’t look past my religious preferences (or lack thereof) and see me as a PERSON, I’ll just hang out with my open minded, non-preachy friends.”

    It has occurred to us that you don’t believe the same thing we do. That’s the point. But, because we believe in God, that all have sinned and are inherently evil and that Jesus is God’s plan for redemption, we choose to bring this message to you in hopes that you will be saved from punishment. As far as being narrow-minded, when you say that you will hang out with your open-minded, non preachy friends, it seems that you really mean people who agree with you at a fundamental level.

    “They’re entitled to their own beliefs, just like you’re entitled to yours. I’m sorry if that sounds harsh, but if you really want the rest of the world to accept you, then you need to accept the rest of the world. Stop focusing on how many souls you can save and start focusing on being a good person. And by ‘good person’, I mean being compassionate and generous, not paraphrasing a book written three thousand years ago on a street corner.”
    I am troubled at this because being a good person is not enough. What he is actually saying is “hey, I’m a good person, I’m compassionate and generous. I don’t need saving from anything so stop hassling me”. It is true that you can make moral choices without a belief in God, but it doesn’t mean your choices are made in a vacuum. While the bible may have been written 3,000 years ago, it doesn’t make it less relevant. that is a genetic fallacy.

    It seems by in large that these objections are mainly the clash of worldviews that one might expect. veiled in these objections is the belief that a)they are good people according to their own definition of good. b) they believe the bible is an old dusty book that has no bearing on their modern lives and c)they are right and we are wrong.

    I’m not sure what you can really do to change a person’s outlook on Christians. The only thing I could say is what Greg Koukl has said before. The Gospel is controversial, but make sure the controversy is the message and not the messenger.

  27. JD Green says

    Hmmm…very powerful…very convicting. I have always said, “Love the person…hate the sin.” We must offer others the same grace (giving that which is not deserved) we have received through Christ. If you are honest with yourself, I believe we can all say, “It was not long ago that I ___(fill in the blank with sin)__ too!”

    In regards to witnessing, when we are able to remember that God is sovereign (Rom. 11:33-34) and that salvation is a Divine Act of Grace (Eph. 2:8), it takes an enormous burden off of our shoulders. We do not have to worry and carry the burden of whether or not we will have the right words (Mt. 10:19, Is. 50:4), we must simply be concerned that we are acting in love and have the right attitude and disposition. Sometimes God uses us and our moments with the “lost” to lead them to salvation, and sometimes He uses us as “stepping stones” for them in their process of coming to that point of salvation (1 Cor. 3:7). What kind of stepping stone are you? One that helps them “step” safely to the next, or one that causes them to fall into the mire?
    All is from Him…for Him…through Him.

  28. Paul L. says

    So non-Christians have no problem with Christians as long as they don’t evangelize…just as whites in the Jim Crow South didn’t any problem with blacks as long as they didn’t get too “uppity.”

  29. Bruce Garner says

    It is not our witness that saves anyone. It is the saving grace of Jesus Christ. We don’t get to choose who gets saved…..that’s still God’s decision. You know, there have been times when “let ‘em burn” could have been applied to you because you weren’t the “right” kind of Baptist (or any other denomination). None of us has a lock on the Holy Mysteries and it’s time we stopped acting like we did.

  30. doug says

    A phrase from Andy Stanley is appropriate here: when you read the gospels you see that people very much unlike Jesus liked Jesus. And Jesus seemed to like them

    Seems to me this should be the same with the Church. If not, whatdoes this say about the Church and local church, especially if it proclaims Christ and His gospel? Christians have the best news ever – Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. I think unfortunately we get in the way all too often.

  31. Vicki Reissig says

    It is not easy to walk the line between witnessing and pushing your beliefs on to someone who doesn’t want to hear them. In my experience, actions speak much louder than words. If I do my best to love and care for others the way that Christ loves and cares for me, there is a much greater chance that they will be ASKING rather than me just trying to tell them. I saw a t-shirt recently that said “Preach the gospel daily. Use words when necessary.” I think that says it all!

  32. Kim says

    “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord…” Romans 6:23. In this passage there are two words that jump out: death and gift. It is “gift” that is the star here. A gift is something freely given and freely received. No one was ever forced to receive a gift because at the point of force it would cease to be a gift. I love Jesus and I want the world to know Him as I do, but had I been forced and coerced to believe in Him, I may not be a Christ follower today. Each person should be afforded the opportunity to receive or reject God’s gift. It is my responsibility as a Christ follower to live each day in a way that brings Him glory and to be ready to give a reason for the faith that I have to anyone who asks. I want to focus MORE on reflecting the beauty and character of Christ so that people might be interested in hearing my story! What each one chooses to do from that point is completely up to them.

    One more comment to add–I live in a very liberal area where I am certainly the minority as a Christian. It is surprising and very sad to hear all of the negative experiences posted here by people who have been treated with disdain and disrespect in the bible belt region. There are many people who have grown up calling themselves Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, etc. but who do not actively practice the tenets of that faith. The same is true of Christianity. The true message of Christ is found in the Bible and the evidence of true Christianity can be seen in a life that is changing.

  33. jo says

    I find most Christians are too silent, hoping someone will ask about their good life. Preach the news! There is something amazingly clarifying about words, which is why Jesus is the Word. We are to take no for an answer, shake the dust from our feet and go elsewhere if rejected, but it is respectful to assume someone can stand on their own two feet in an intellectual challenge and evaluate the new info on its merits. And it is loving with the long view of love to insinuate someone’s house is on fire and salvation is both necessary and available! Speak! Silence is by far the greater danger. I have faith that none of you is firing nonChristians (uh, wut??) Or calling people names , or neglecting to serve the people around you in genuine care. Speak! “For I am not ashamed of the gospel….”

    • Tremayne Manson says

      Amen. I believe the bigger problem is that Christians are far to silent about the hope that they have within. And my concern is that articles like this give believers who are already uncomfortable with sharing their faith justification for not doing so (I don’t believe that this is the intent of the author)

  34. Mark Gagnon says

    1. Any human being of any stripe can be cold and self centered or unfriendly and this may even be typical of a large part of that group and yet if we hold on to that and use it to label we are considered bigots. But not when it comes to christians.
    2. The same standards are not used for other groups.
    3. If the bible is understood properly it will be know that there are believers and unbelievers who are within the church. The wheat and the chaff, the sheep and the goats, Mature believers, new believers, immature believers, there are also false brethren, and wolves in sheep clothing. Is it really a loving thing to label all christians when there is such a diversity of maturity level and spiritual conditions?
    4. I agree with the point of the article and comments, I have experienced much of the same from christians and I am a christian. But there is alot more to the phenomena than this. Even when you calmly, nicely state your belief when asked if a certain thing is sinful, often you will from then on out be avoided. what are we to make of that?

  35. Joe Rhoads says

    I know the desire is to get into the mindset of the lost, so that we can approach them with gospel with ways that will seem less offensive to them, but we need to be Biblical. Should we be listening to the lost on how we are to share the gospel with them? Or should we be listening to the immutable Word of God?
    Quite frankly, I distrust the statements made by the lost in this article. Let give examples from my own personal life. I’ve been called anti-Semitic (by non-Jews, no less) simple because I quoted John 14:6. I have been told that I hate gay people, simply because I said, “God’s Word says homosexuality is a sin.” I have been told that I’m a intolerant bigot because I said I believe in moral absolutes. And so and so forth. I have never said anything in anger or pushy, but uncompromisingly stated my beliefs. And I’ve been hated by the lost for it. So, you’ll forgive me if I don’t trust the perception of the lost about how I or other Christians state their beliefs.

  36. Fred12 says

    Four thoughts for nonChristians from Christians:
    1. Stop being so intolerant
    2. Trust in God not in man
    3. Examine your own conscience and you will realize that you need to hear what we have to say.
    4. The God of the universe has declared these truths to us, so that we can communicate them to you. It is not by our authority that we speak and so therefore, we do not say them in condescension, but in a reliance on His word.
    P.S. Repent and be saved

    • Bruce Garner says

      Wow! Number 1 and number 2 sound like Jesus. The rest actually rings of the arrogant attitudes that drive people away from us. The reality is that we operate on faith and faith alone. None of us can really know if we are right or wrong. We will not know until we stand before our Creator and seek the divine Grace we know is there. We walk by faith, not by sight. Faith….of that I am certain. Of all else, when I stand before God I will truly know.

  37. Louis says

    I must say that i disagree with almost everything here. I hope that you won’t think that because I disagree with most of the opinions above that I must be a jerk, I certainly am not. I love all people and want the best for this world. What I disagree with is the underlying assumptions that underpin this entire discussion. For example, many of the non-Christians are communicating that all they want is “to be respected and loved” and yet I don’t believe that they are properly able to identify what love and respect is.

    In one of many examples that I could cite, one of the non-Christians said, “If you can’t look past my religious preferences (or lack thereof) and see me as a PERSON, I’ll just hang out with my open minded, non-preachy friends.”

    Why should a Christian “look past” his religious preferences? Why should a Christian not love him enough to continually remind him of the truth of the gospel?

    What’s happening is that the Christians are loving their neighbors by telling them the truth of the gospel and the non-christians are interpreting this love shown to them as being a lack of love and respect for their choices. Just as an analogy, when a parent does not allow a child to attend a party for his/her own safety, the child feels like the parent is being unloving, while the truth of the matter is that the parent is being loving but the child just can’t see it.

    I am aware that Christians can sometimes be jerks and can be unloving to non-Christians but I also think that the majority of what non-Christians view as “unloving” is actually love, the love of sharing the gospel, reminding them of their sinfulness before God, the reality of a day of judgment when they will be held accountable before God, and their need to humble themselves confess their sinfulness and the wickedness of their hearts, seeking to be made right before the Creator. I think that these reminders are interpreted as “Christians being unloving and not letting me just live my life and make my own choices” much like the child who wants to go to the party but the parent tells them that they can’t.

    I think that the incidences of Christians actually being unloving is very rare, while the instances of Christian love being seen by the non-Christian as unloving is very common.

    *One must also consider the fact that in all likely-hood, over half of “Christians” in America have never actually been regenerated and so much of the true “unloving and disrespectful attitudes” are not coming from actual Christians but are coming from non-Christians who have been told that they are Christians because they “asked Jesus into their heart”.

    • Penny says

      I couldn’t agree more. I was told that witnessing and telling the truth about God and judgment and sin to someone I love with all my heart made her feel “invaded,” and that it took her a while to get over it. People who don’t want to hear the truth have so many ways to stop their own ears.

  38. Penny says

    I totally agree with Fred12–the Bible says that there is no one who is righteous, no one who seeks God. They have all turned aside, each to his own way. And unbelievers who don’t want to hear what we have to say understandably prefer being with people who are following that same way. I don’t think being a nice girl like I’ve been for over 40 years is getting the job done, and I struggle all the time with what I should do in the way of evangelism.

  39. Nicole says

    It appears to me Mr. Rainer is jumping on the unbelievers’ “let’s make Christians look like the bad guy because we don’t like them” bandwagon. We are told in God’s Word unbelievers love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. What the author fails to point-out are the inconsistencies and hypocrisy of those claiming to be victims of Christian proselytizers. Like the one who presumptuously claims all Christians ought-not to think they are better than people who don’t agree with them, while they simultaneously label Christians as narrow-minded, and states they prefer the company of their superior, open-minded, non-Christian friends.

  40. says

    with all the due love care, compassion to all;

    God Loved you so much, that He sent His only son Jesus Christ , that who ever believes in Him should not perish but live for ever. Is there any lack of love.
    Focus on God who created you and loved you. Do not please focus on any human for that matter.

    Blessings with love

  41. Rachel (Hepler) says

    When a person very close to us took a job in a country who forbade Christian evangelism, people would ask what does she do. I replied with Jesus statement in Matthew 5 when He declared we were to be salt and light to those about us. His final comment on that particular subject was: “In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” I followed this with my statement: ‘She is doing the same thing we are expected to do in the USA.’ This will include respect, compassion, and love which have been mentioned often in the comments above. One year when I had the privilege to teach two weeks in such a country, I was often asked my opinion about some ‘cultural’ thing in the USA. I prefaced all responses with “I am not a typical American, My comments will be my personal response.” The last day of classes I was asked: “Are you a Christian?” With gratitude that they had seen the ‘difference’, I simply said, “Yes, I am.”

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