A scary and sad truth dawned upon me the other day. I don’t have any non-Christian friends. It’s not that I purposely avoided having them—I just don’t have them. It got me thinking…is that okay?
Truthfully, I don’t think it is. Even though I say that I am welcome to have people with different viewpoints in my life be it religious or political, I seldom invite them into my world. I know that it is only natural to surround yourself with like-minded people; however, I think there are several pitfalls to secluding yourself in Christian bubbles.
For starters, you can develop a skewed view of the world. Although I think it is very important to have a community of believers that you do life with, grow with, and that you can relate to, it is so important to understand that your reality is only one in an ocean of endless other paradigms. Being actively aware and mindful that the world does not revolve around you and your views prevents self-centered thinking and close-mindedness. Additionally, it opens the door to understand more thoughtfully and love others more deeply.
As I examined why my social circles have little to no non-Christians, I realized it was primarily because most places I spend my time (work and church) are with other Christians. But as I looked at my heart more carefully, I noticed that I have hoarded feelings of fear that have caused me to steer clear from people who think differently than I. I have been afraid of being rejected or thought of as strange and traditional. I have worried that I won’t know how to relate to or talk to people who oppose my faith.
Then I looked even deeper and what I found was heartbreaking. I thought, “Do I care for people’s souls?” You may think the obvious reason to do life with non-believers is so that we can be a witness to them and introduce them to Christ, and I would agree with you. But how can you be a witness if you don’t care for people—their lives, their stories, their souls?
I realized that so much of my identity is wrapped up in my faith, and yet at the heart of it, I have failed to recognize one of the core principles of Christ’s teaching. Jesus didn’t just hang out with believers and call it a day. He didn’t just go around shoving truth down people’s throats, either. He did life with them, He listened to them and heard their stories, He loved them and cared for their souls.
I love how Jesus loved people. It didn’t matter who it was, whether it was people who were frowned upon by society or his faithful followers, He loved them.[easy-tweet tweet=”I love how Jesus loved people. It didn’t matter who it was, He loved them.” user=”@StephanieMcGraw” hashtags=”#lovepeople”]
Loving them meant stepping into their worlds, understanding them, and being a witness simply by displaying unconventional and unconditional love.
So much of my reservations have been out of fear that I won’t know what to say or how I will be perceived. But if we are to live like Christ we must always put His example at the forefront of our minds. When my supply of love is short, I lean on Him. It’s okay if the majority of your friends are Christian, but how are you pursuing relationships with people outside your worldview, and more importantly, why? We love others because He loved them first. I encourage you to examine your own heart and see if you carry any reservations like I did, and ask for a more compassionate heart that cares for others.
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