Sometimes it can be frustrating to have unbelieving friends and family. They face so much and go through so much, suffering in their unbelief yet believing that this is all normal. For those of us with eyes to see, God's presence and desire to rescue is plain and visible, but for our friends, whose minds and hearts are clouded by sin, God does not exist. Sometimes we just want to shake them but until they are willing to consider the possibility of God they are blind and deaf to God's love. The psalmist called them fools:
The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. (Psalm 14:1)
It is hard for people to understand that we are born with this rebellious nature and because of it we were born as enemies of God. In contrast to his goodness we come off looking evil. Even the wisest, kindest, most compassionate human being comes across as evil in comparison to God's holiness. The psalmist writes:
The LORD looks down from heaven
on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
any who seek God.
All have turned away, all have become corrupt;
there is no one who does good, not even one. (Psalm 14:2-3)
For the sake of our family and friends we need to make sure we do not get lolled into a false sense of security for our friends. Sometimes, because they appear to be good and we love them so much, we create this false idea that they will be okay, that God will understand. We need to remember that we were all born evil, rebellious and are in need of rescue from our sins. Jesus is that rescue. We may be kind to one another but it's our relationship with God that determines our salvation. The evil we perpetrate may not be against each other but when we deny God we are showing the evil content of our heart. Paul explained in his letter to the church in Rome:
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)
God has been revealing himself since the beginning of time. Those who decide to seek him will find him; God will not hide himself from those who seek. This means that we are without excuse. There is no acceptable excuse for denying God. Such denial leads only to a worsening of our condition:
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:21)
This is the story of the history of man but it is also the personal history of each unbeliever. The more God reveals himself, his love, goodness, mercy and grace the more the rebellious dig in their heals. They become more determined in their rebellion. Those who are the most under conviction can become the worse type of sinners as they fight against God. But something happens in this struggle. Either they give up the struggle and allow themselves to be rescued by Jesus, or they are allowed to sink even deeper into the depravity of their thinking:
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. (Romans 1:24-25)
Again, this is the history of man but also the history of each unbeliever. Perhaps you have met some people like this who spew hatred toward anything to do with God, including his people. It almost appears like they go out of their way with their sin to show just how much they are against faith in God. Paul writes a list of behaviours as an example and then he states:
Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:32)
That's what really hurts, when people who are so far gone in their attitude and behaviour try to entice others to join them. It is like the atheist movement spending millions of dollars on advertising trying to convince others to turn away from God. It is like the parades held throughout the world encouraging people to celebrate rebellion against God's holiness. We see it all around us every day, in TV shows, movies, music; the invitation to join in the rebellion. Unfortunately it is working just as the Word said it would:
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
So understand the times in which we live and wake up to the danger facing your friends and family. What is reputation compared to eternal damnation? We know the world has shifted and now we are hated more than ever but let's make sure we are hated for the right reasons. Let's be hated because we speak the Word of Life and not because of indifference. Let's be passionate again about those who are on the road to destruction. Let's pray and fight for them, even when they spew hatred back at us. Let's not give up but instead be inspired by Jesus' love, the love that never gave up on us.
Do not allow the enemy to loll you to sleep with a false sense of security with your friends. If you truly love them you will continue to press upon them the truth of their condition and never give up, making the most of every opportunity. Be patient and kind, remaining consistent in the application of Jesus' love for the lost. It is what we have been called to do.