How To Treat Non-Christians

One of our regular readers, Stephen, wrote requesting a post on “how to treat people outside of our Church.”

He further asked, “If we see someone outside the Church being hurt, what does God say that we should do?”

The Bible is a book, not only about sin, salvation, and redemption, it speaks specifically to our relationships. All relationships. Including our relationships with those who are not a part of our church family, who are not Christians.

(1) Begin by loving.

Jesus was once asked, “What is the greatest commandment?”

He replied, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind”

Then he said, “And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt 22:37-39)

Then he added, “There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mk. 12:31).

We cannot separate our love for God apart from our neighbor, who is made in God’s image. This kind of love is not a mushy sentimentality. Or a fleeting emotion. But a love of the will. A love that seeks the best interest of others.

Barclay was right, when we take away the love of God, we become angry at the man who is unteachable. And pessimistic toward one who seems unwilling to improve. Without a right relationship with God, we can become cold, callous and uncaring toward the sinner for whom Christ died (Rom. 5:8).

(2) Be Compassionate toward the hurting.

“Who is my neighbor?” Jesus was once asked.

The Master Teacher replied by telling the famous parable we call “The Good Samaritan (Lk. 10:25-37).

In the story, a man was traveling the dangerous road from Jerusalem to Jericho. Thieves attacked him. Beat him. Stole his possession. And left him wounded and dying alongside the road.

Both a Priest and Levite came along but did nothing to attend to the hurting man. They just went on their way.

However, a Samaritan, a man despised by the Jews for his race, saw the bleeding stranger and “had compassion.” He bandaged his wounds. Did what he could. And then took him to an Inn where he paid for his lodging and asked the Innkeeper to care for him.

“So which of these three,” Jesus asked, “do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”

And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

We can’t alleviate all the suffering in the world. But we can help those with whom we come in contact. The Bible instructs “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all men” (Gal 6:10). Whether Christians or not.

(3) Practice the Golden Rule.

In His Mountain Message Jesus issued the supreme rule of relationships that is profound in its simplicity. “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matt 7:12).

How do you desire to be treated? Fairly? Honestly? Respectfully? Kindly? Politely? Reasonably? Yes. All of these and more.

In a perfect world, everyone would treat others following these three guidelines. But, they don’t. But we think surely Christians would respond lovingly, compassionately, and humanely. Sadly, not everyone does. Because the church is composed of people who are imperfect.

When we see people hurting, let’s help. Look for opportunities outside your church family to offer assistance. Friends, neighbors, relatives, co-workers and even complete strangers who are struggling that can be encouraged with a kind word. A helping hand. Or financial assistance.

In addition, there are many worthy charities and organizations the operate both locally and internationally that do good for people of all races and religions that we can support.

We are not required to agree with everyone’s religious, moral or political views to care about them. Love them. Help them. And treat them with dignity.

“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Lk. 6:35-36).

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

3 Comments

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3 responses to “How To Treat Non-Christians

  1. Jesus certainly gives people an example of how to love their enemies. Imagine the scenario in an even more sexist, and racist scenario.

    A Samaritan Woman despised because of her faith community’s adulterous religious beliefs helps a poor black man who has been beaten up by years of white supremacy get out of the ditch. She puts the black man put up in the best hotel, in the best room and gives him the best food and wine. She pays the tab. The Black Man welcomes the Woman’s lavish attention and then all the years of hate that has been inflicted upon him comes to the surface. It is as if he has been awakened from a long slumber or waking up from hibernation. He is suddenly aware of the way rich people live and the colonialism and the years of slavery his ancestors have endured.

    When the Samaritan Woman suggests he come and see a man whom she supposes is the long awaited Messiah, the Black Man comes. When he gets there and they are both given the best lodgings that she pays for, the Black Man is confused. He doesn’t understand how the Samaritan Woman can love him and the very people who robbed him and her of their divine inheritance.

    The Black Man sees how much the Samaritan Woman loves these people and their Good Teacher. So the Black man refuses to sit at the Teacher’s table and sits off by himself, thinking. “If this man and these people were prophets they would see this Woman who is anointing them with her love and attention is a sinner. Can’t they see. She’s brought me here. She is sleeping in my bed while we are here and we are not married. She has even spent an evening with the Good Teacher she thinks is a Greek God, under the cover of darkness. Hmmph… The Greeks and the Romans are colonial, greedy and racist. I do not want to have anything to do with them. I won’t lick their boots or show them any hospitality at all!.

    Now what do you think happens? Does this Black Man go back into his cave? Does his hatred for the racist and sexist attitudes of the conquerors get the best of him? Or does God’s love for all win his heart and transform him into her most precious Lord?

    • Marjorie Hodges

      I’m not familiar with these passages could you please send me where to find find them so I know what the man did at the end Thanks in advance

      • Dear Marjorie,

        Thank you for asking for clarification. I appreciate your interest and your devotion to Scripture.

        The passages I referred to come from Luke Chapter 10 verses 29-37 and Luke 7:35-50. There is no explicit evidence to suggest that the two men were the same men. One can infer this by knowing that many people down through the ages have thought that Simon and Lazarus of John 11:38-44 were the same man because of the parable of Lazarus and Simon in Luke 16: 19-31. The story of the Samaritan does not explicitly say the Samaritan, the person from Samaria, was a Woman. I infer this because of John’s Gospel story of the Samaritan Woman (John 4: 1-42).

        Jesus gives Simon the name of Petros and then says to Simon…on this Petra I will build my church and the gates of Hades (Hell) will not overpower it [her] (Matthew 16:18). And then a few verses later, Simon is trying Jesus’ patience. In Matthew 16:23, Jesus says to Simon get behind me Satan you are a stumbling block to me because you do not have the things of God in mind.

        Keep in mind, it is Simon the One called Petros who after the crucifixion says ” let this be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man [this man who could not walk from Jerusalem to Jericho and back without fear] stands before you healed. He is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone “(Acts 4:10-11).

        Marjorie, I hope and trust these passages will help you better understand where I was coming from with my “take” on the Samaritan Story and why I finished my post with the question suggesting the Man robbed and beaten was healed and transformed as the Samaritan Woman’s precious Lord–the Lord Mary was looking for when she spoke to Jesus the Rabboni in his Garden adjacent to the tombs (John 20:15).

        You may recall, it is when the disciples say. “the Lord has risen indeed and he has appeared to Simon!” that Jesus the Teacher appears to them opening their minds to the scriptures (Luke 24:36-50) and reassuring them that he is indeed sending them the Advocate (the HOLY SPIRIT) that the Father has promised.

        The Father, the Gardener and Husbandman (John 15:1; Psalm 128:3)) who carried the Cross of Jesus (Mark 15:21) commissions Jesus the Rabboni when he appears before Simon. With Simon’s appearance, the Rabboni is able to dispel all doubt. He can now send the Advocate out as the Father’s Bride, the FATHER’s FIERY WOMAN…to go in faith as the Father’s beloved with much love to tell with flames of fire…the Good News. The Lord Jesus Christ lives forever and so does everyone who welcomes the Holy Spirit and the Teacher together with the Teacher’s beloved gracious housewife and the people and the Garden [the environment] the Holy Spirit and her BRIDEGROOM love. They are ONE HOLY FAMILY. They are full of DIVINE GRACE and they are blessed to bless God forever with a transformative and everlasting love (Matthew 28:16-19).

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