02 Jun What is the Most Important Thing You Could Do?
Have you ever been faced with a situation that you didn’t know how to respond to? Have you ever found yourself in a place where you weren’t sure how to react? Has someone ever said something to you and you just about lost it with them? Have you ever come across someone who had totally different values and beliefs and they were challenging you?
Unless you live on a deserted island or another planet, I’m sure you have found yourself in at least one of these situations. And if not, you will soon. How you respond in these types of situations really is important, especially if you call yourself a Christ follower and you are responding to people who don’t know Jesus.
Paul tells us in Colossians 4:5,6 to “live wisely among people who don’t believe” and to “let your conversation be gracious and attractive.”
As we think about Jesus and his responses to people who didn’t know him, he responds out of love and clear direction. Often you see people asking Jesus for help and he responds out of love, ultimately pointing them to our Heavenly Father.
Let’s be clear, I’m not suggesting that we need to act like someone with a wet spaghetti for a spine. I’m not saying that we should just fall over and let people walk all over us. I’m not suggesting that we should never have tough love. But Jesus was clear about how we should respond to those who don’t know Him as their Savior.
What is sad today is that, when people who don’t follow Christ think of the average Christ follower, they think of how the Christ follower they encountered responded to them. And in many cases, it wasn’t out of love. Too often, the response was with an attitude of “you are wrong”, which very well might be true, but can be taken as “I’m better then you.”
For the sake of the gospel, can Christ followers stop worrying about how wrong someone is and just try to respond like Jesus did?
I recently had a conversation with a man who shared with me his interactions with a Christ follower. It wasn’t a positive interaction. My heart sinks every time I hear one of these stories because it makes it that much harder for us to reach them with the love of Christ.
Let me encourage you to look for ways to build bridges instead of making a point. Look for common ground like Paul did in Acts 17 when he went into a city that was worshipping every idol that could have been thought up. Paul found common ground and from there pointed them to the One True God. Notice, the first thing out of Paul’s mouth wasn’t how wrong they were (even though they were wrong).
Just Sunday morning, as I read 1 Peter 4, I was reminded of this truth in verse 8:
1 Peter 4:8 (NLT) tells us “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.”
Some other verses for us to consider:
Colossians 3:14a “Above all, clothe yourselves with love…”
Galatians 5:13-14 “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
John 13:35 “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
Let’s choose the most important thing, as Peter puts it, to show deep love for each other. Can you find someone this week that you know has different morals and values than you and just love them? Serve them? Show them Jesus? If every Christ follower would do this, then Jesus would have a different reputation in the minds of those who have yet to put their faith in HIM.
Let’s point more and more people to Him this week – this is the most important thing you could do… respond in love.
Rick E. Moore, Associate Pastor