In Part 1 of this series, I explained why I believe loving and judging others is not meant to be a black and white issue among Christians. Jesus interacted with three distinctly different groups of people in three distinctly different ways. And His is the model we should use to define a Christian lifestyle.
Also, as we look into these different groups of people, join me in seeing which group you have a tendency to fall into. Though we all strive to be part of the third, we all will at times feel tugged in one direction or another.
Again, here are the three different groups:
- Sinners who lived a life of sin
- Sinners who were pridefully religious and rigid hypocrites
- Sinners who were his friends and followers
Because these people still exist, Jesus’ models of how to approach them are still relevant.
We’re all sinners, but for the purpose of this series, these are people who are actively living a lifestyle of sin – they don’t have a relationship with Jesus and live in direct opposition to Him. We all know Jesus hung out with the lowest of the low, but is that really what we’re supposed to do?
In John 8:1-11, we read about an adulterous woman. She was probably living a life of constant sexual sin. It’s easy for us to float into the “religious” category and say she needs to be punished. But…
How did Jesus respond?
Without judgement. If someone doesn’t even claim to be a Christian, we can’t expect them to act like it.
Instead, He loved these people loudly. By showing grace, forgiving and being with them, He built relationships so He could teach what the Truth is and how they can live a better life.
How do we respond?
Understand that many of these people either don’t know the Truth or they’ve been hurt by “the religious” crowd.
Make sure you’re the influencer, not the one being influenced.
Without being besties, build a relationship with them where they respect you because you don’t judge them.
Look for opportunities to invite them to church, share what you believe, or show Jesus to them. Remember, if you’re willing to just listen to them first, they’ll be more open to hearing your beliefs.
This one is often the most uncomfortable to navigate and actually act upon. But it’s necessary. How do you treat the “sinner” you know? Do you feel this is the category you most closely fall into? If so, please feel free to contact me with any questions!
Part 3 Preview: The Followers
These are people who have committed their lives to living like Jesus and leading other people by example. They want to know Jesus better through relationship and through studying His life and teachings. Are you sure this is you? Even if it is, are you treating other followers the way Jesus did?
From a message I gave at Elevate.