This question sticks with me as I build relationships with those that are not seeking God: Are you willing to have the same unconditional relationship w/ people if they never come to saving faith in Christ? Often in the past I would have answered “no.” My relationship with them came with an ulterior motive. The relationship was the carrot and salvation was the stick (or at least it could have been interpreted that way.)
Now I tend to hope my relationship is an end unto itself. What if loving someone unconditionally means I treat them with God’s grace regardless of what they do with it? It seems like Jesus treated people this way. And I wonder if people can smell the ulterior motive on us.
I have a Christian friend who had a Mormon family move in next to them in Colorado. They said they were their favorite neighbors ever! The Mormons brought them treats all the time and even helped them build their huge deck in the summer. Of course, they knew that the Mormon Neighbors constantly wanted them to convert to their faith—and so my friends just used them really, for the free treats and labor. This role reversal points out how others often view Christians.
Who you say it to matters more than what you say. Are we willing to truly build trust—so that our very lives might share the gospel, rather than our relationships being a pretext for evangelism?
The next time we are obsessing over what we’re saying about God we might consider who we are saying it to.
More Than What (series links)
Click here for part 1: When you say it matters more than what you say
Click here for part 2: Why you say it matters more than what you say
Click here for part 3: Where you say it matters more than what you say
Click here for part 4: Who you say it to matters more than what you say
Come back for part 5: How you say it matters more than what you say
*Thanks for reading. You might be interested to know that this article is from the cuts in a manuscript I am working on currently titled “Unsustainable.” If you like this then I’m hoping you’ll really like what actually makes it into the book. Stay tuned.