Nobody likes the stereotypical “Christian” person who condemns others for their “sinful” decisions. A lot of people who don’t know God tend to be wary of the church for that reason. They don’t want to be picked apart for their choices. There are several people in my life, some who I am very close with that don’t have the same beliefs as I do, but I love them regardless because they are still good people.
I’ve also encountered fellow Christians that consider you guilty by association if you mingle among those who aren’t saved, even though Jesus himself went out among the lost. With all that being said, a question comes to mind. How do you show love to those who knowingly or unknowingly violate God’s standards without endorsing or partaking in their sin? The Bible has the answer.
–Be personal. If we see someone betraying God, other people, or even themselves, we should deal with it by approaching them personally. (Matthew 18:15)
–Be humble. Jesus had the perfect illustration of this in Matthew 7:3-5, the person who points out the speck in someone else’s eye but fails to see the plank in their own eye. We are all sinners and must be humble enough to admit our own mistakes first, not projecting blame and shame.
–Be gentle. The Bible reminds us in Galatians 6:1 to restore a person caught in sin gently. We have no reason to deal with people harshly for their faults when we have plenty of our own.
–Be truthful. We all have a lot of growing up to do spiritually. Honest people help us grow by gently but firmly helping us in areas that we need to work on. Tough love is what helps us grow, and the Bible refers to this process as speaking the truth in love. (Ephesians 4:15)
–Be hopeful! After we approach someone personally with humility, gentleness and truth filled love, we leave it in God’s hands. We can’t force someone to accept or acknowledge what we do or say, but we can always pray for God to work in that person’s life.
Proverbs 2:1-11 says, “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding— indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.”
If we seek out the Wisdom of God, we will be able to use the spirit of discernment it gives us to be able to love others with compassion without causing our own feet to stumble. Most importantly, with that wisdom we can be a light for others and lead them to salvation.