I feel like I need to get something off my chest.
It bothers me that Christians continually express shock, disapproval, and judgment at the way non-Christians live.
You’ve seen it, and maybe even done it:
Doesn’t anyone believe in marriage anymore?
I can’t get over how many people today smoke weed.
Can you believe they just sleep in instead of coming to church?
Did you hear they moved in together? That’s so bad!
What’s wrong with our government? Why don’t they uphold Biblical values?
Whenever I hear that, I feel like saying, “Do you seriously expect non-Christians to behave like Christians?”
Think it through.
Most people in the West no longer consider themselves Christian.
Or, even if they use the term “Christian” to describe themselves, few believe in the authority of Scripture or profess a personal faith in Jesus Christ.
So, why would we expect them to behave like Christians? Why would we expect people who don’t profess to be Christians to:
Wait until marriage to have sex?
Clean up their language?
Be celibate when they’re attracted to people of the same sex?
Pass laws like the entire nation was Christian?
They’re not pretending to be Christians. Why would they adopt Christian values or morals?Why would we expect people who don’t profess to be Christians to behave like Christians? Click To Tweet
Please don’t get me wrong.
I’m a pastor. I completely believe that Jesus is not only the Way, but that God’s way is the best way.
When you follow Biblical teachings about how to live life, your life simply goes better. It just does. I 100% agree.
I do everything I personally can to align my life with the teachings of Scripture, and I’m passionate about helping every follower of Christ do the same.
But what’s the logic behind judging people who don’t follow Jesus for behaving like people who don’t follow Jesus?
Why would you hold the world to the same standard you hold the Church?
Before you judge a non-Christian for behaving like a non-Christian, think about this:
1. They act more consistently with their value system than you do.
It’s difficult for a non-Christian to be a hypocrite because they tend to live out what they believe.
Chances are they’re better at living out their values than you or I.
Jesus never blamed pagans for acting like pagans.
But he did call out religious people for acting like self-righteous hypocrites.Jesus never blamed pagans for acting like pagans. But he did call out religious people for acting like self-righteous hypocrites. Click To Tweet
2. Your disapproval is destroying the relationship (if you have even have a relationship in the first place)
Some of the most judgmental Christians have zero non-Christian friends. Is that a surprise, really?
I mean, on a human level, how many people have you made time for this week that you know disapprove of who you are and the way you live?
3. Judgment is a terrible evangelism strategy
People don’t line up to be judged.
Think about you respond to people you don’t know judging what you believe and how you live. I’d be willing to bet you’re not receptive to that kind of critical feedback. And why would you be?
If you want to keep being ineffective at reaching unchurched people, keep judging them.If you want to keep being ineffective at reaching unchurched people, keep judging them. Click To Tweet
4. Judging outsiders is un-Christian
Paul told us to stop judging people outside the church. Jesus said God will judge us by the same standard with which we judge others.
Paul also reminds us to drop the uppity-attitude; that none of us was saved by the good things we did but by grace.
So, what can you do?
1. Stop judging non-Christians. Start loving them
Very few people have been judged into life-change. Many have been loved into it.
Instead of an open invitation, judgment creates a barrier to entry. It makes people feel like you view them as an enemy to defeat or a “project” to win over. And that’s not love.Very few people have been judged into life-change. Many have been loved into it. Click To Tweet
2. Empathize with non-Christians
Ask yourself, “If I wasn’t a Christian, what would I be doing?” Chances are, you might be doing exactly what the non-Christians in your neighborhood are doing. (And, to go even further, how much different do you actually live from non-Christians in your neighborhood? Would an outsider be able to discern any significant difference?).
Understanding and empathizing with the lifestyles of non-Christians completely changes how you see them – and yourself, hopefully. And, trust me, that change in posture is noticeable.
3. Hang out with non-Christians
Jesus did. And caught plenty of disapproval for it. I have a friend who continually drops f-bombs in my presence.
As much as it bothers me, I never correct him (he’s not a kid, he’s my peer). But I do pray for him every day, and we talk about my faith. I want him to feel as if he can be his true self with me, just like Jesus does for me.
4. Pray for unchurched people
How many unchurched people do you pray for daily? How many people with whom you disagree do you pray for daily?
It’s impossible to hate someone you genuinely pray for daily.It's impossible to hate someone you genuinely pray for daily. Click To Tweet
5. Live out your faith authentically
Your actions carry weight. Humility is far more attractive than pride. When a non-Christian sees integrity, it’s compelling. And, like Jesus, we should live a life in service to others – not in service to our own sense of righteousness.
I have a feeling if we in the Church loved the world the way Jesus did, the world might come running to Christ.
And then the change we long to see might actually begin to happen.If the church loved the world the way Jesus did, the world might come running to Christ. Click To Tweet