The Question Every Non-Christian is Asking

There’s an important question every non-Christian is asking.  And we Christians, at least in my demographic, are just now beginning to realize it.

Every unbeliever is asking us Christians, “Will you love me even if I don’t accept your Jesus?”

For too long I, and most evangelicals I know, have approached sharing the Gospel as “the goal”.  When we meet an unbeliever, our chief objective is to verbalize the Good News as quickly as possible and “seal the deal” on their salvation.  If we are met with resistance (and why wouldn’t we be, having not invested in the person at all?), we give up on that person and move on to the next.

Which means we are answering their question with a very loud “NO!”

Sharing the Gospel like this communicates to unbelievers that all we care about is their making a decision to accept Jesus and the Bible’s teaching about Him.  To be sure, we are very much concerned they believe in Jesus.  But if that’s all we care about, then unbelievers become statistics, in our minds as well as from their points of view, losing their values as people and as individuals.

And I don’t love statistics.

I don’t love numbers.  I may get a little excited when the church announces figures each year of the number of people “saved”, the number of baptisms performed, etc.  That might cause me to ooh and ahh for a moment.  But I can’t recall last year’s stats.  I have no idea what the numbers were.  Because I don’t love numbers.

I love people.

People have faces and stories and hearts and needs and wants and baggage and hopes.  And when we begin to change our perspective on evangelism, we begin to value unbelievers for who they are, regardless of whether or not we ever get a chance to share Jesus with them.

Our evangelism formula changes, then, from:

I share Christ → You accept Christ → We form a relationship

to:

We form a relationship → You may or may not accept Christ → We continue relationship

This shift in perspective is necessary not because we value the Gospel too much (there is no such thing) but because we – – value people too little.  We don’t love people as Jesus loved people.  He was motivated to love people because of their innate value as people just as much as He was motivated by His concern for their having an eternal relationship with the Father.

“Just as much”?!  Someone’s spending eternity in dark, torturous hell seems a little more important than whether or not I love them well, you might argue.

Image via freedigitalphotos.net

It’s easy for me to think that.  Logically, that makes sense.  But my logic is not always God’s logic (Isaiah 55:9).  So we must ask ourselves, is this idea biblical?

What did Jesus teach us about loving people?

“‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another,'” (John 13:34).

How has Jesus loved us?

“‘As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you,'” (John 15:9).

How has the Father loved Jesus?

Well, as a parent myself, I can imagine the Father loved Jesus with every fiber of His being, investing huge amounts of time, emotional energy, and unlimited acts of service in His Son.  And Jesus loves us that intensely.  And Jesus wants us to love others that intensely as well.

Why?

“‘By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another,'” (John 13:35).

Unbelievers will scratch their heads.  “Why do these people love others so well?  HOW can these people love others so well?!”  And, because they feel loved by us and are comfortable in our friendship, they will ask us these questions.  We will then be able to share Jesus with them.  And if they don’t accept that explanation or choose to adopt it as their own, we are to keep loving them, per the argument above.

Jesus commands us to share the Gospel (Mark 16:15).  But He also commands us to love one another (John 13:34).  He is concerned with both aspects.  Are you?

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10 thoughts on “The Question Every Non-Christian is Asking

  1. Thank you for sharing this, Kelly! Some friends–ones who identify as Christians–have often looked at me like I’m nuts or have told me I’m wrong for a) not being comfortable with just going up in someone’s face and saying “Do you know Jesus?” (I’m just not brave enough for that, frankly.) and b) for not telling them they’re going to hell if they don’t change/if they continue doing something they’re doing. I’d so much rather BE a friend before trying to bring them to Christ. Like you said–both things are equally important. But people are so much more willing to listen and ASK when they trust you first!

  2. After I read this post…(I guess it was only yesterday!) It has been bouncing around in my head. Today it came up when thinking and discussing evangelism with a Bible study group. I realized that Jesus said, “Come, follow Me,” not, “I want you to follow Me because you’re a sinner and you need me and…” etc, etc.

    In fact, He says to make disciples of every nation, right? Then in the Epistles, Peter tells people gently to be ready to give an account for the hope that is in you IF YOU ARE ASKED. In Colossians 4:5-6, we are supposed to have the RIGHT RESPONSE for everyone. A response requires a question, right?

    So basically, our lives should shine before men that they see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven by ASKING.

    Obviously, there is a balance, but I’m starting to see something very flawed about the Romans Road type of evangelism. When we only befriend someone to see them get saved…it’s just plain weird. I don’t have all the answers right now, only thoughts. Thank you for getting me onto thinking about this. He says LOVE our neighbors and enemies. He will open a door when it’s time!!

    Whew! I’m all pumped. 🙂

    Thank you

  3. Kelly, this may well be one of your best posts yet. Kind of goes along with a wonderful movie Joy and I watched tonight, “To Save a Life.” Thanks for sharing the heart of God so beautifully.

  4. I can’t express how thankful I am that I was able to read this. This completely changed my thought pattern. You have made me realize that I was going about everything the wrong way. I was wondering if I may get permission to reblog this?

  5. Kelly,
    Thank you so much for sharing your heart! Preach the Gospel wherever you go and when necessary, use words (St. Francis of Asissi) The most powerful way to preach The Gospel is to love unconditionally and without stipulations! “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35 I believe it is our responsibility to love ESPECIALLY when someones beliefs are different than ours! It is our job to plant a seed; Our God will water and nurture it!
    Just rambling thoughts from a broken sinner who is trying to love, forgive,and share grace in the way that these things have been lavished extravagantly on me!
    In His Service,
    Jimmy

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