Bible Reading: 1 John 4:16-19
As we live in God, our love grows more perfect. 1 John 4:17
Talk, about it: Think of someone who is really nice—well, beyond nice. Name some¬one who is really good—and here’s the catch—who isn’t a Christian. And then answer this: How can someone not believe in Jesus and still be an awesome person?
Here’s an example. Nina had been Felicia’s best friend for most of their lives. Felicia was nice, but Nina was supernice. Nina always welcomed strangers, always spoke kindly, and always signed up to volunteer at nursing homes, food pantries, and animal shelters. When Felicia became a Christian and promptly announced to her best friend that she needed Jesus, Nina answered that she was just as good of a person as Felicia. She didn’t need to become a Christian because she already knew how to love people.
Nina’s protests cut to the heart of what it means to be a Christian—and why we need to share Jesus even with the nice but non-Christian people in our world. Here are four facts we can be sure of:
Fact 1: Non-Christians can obey the Golden Rule even though they don’t know God. You don’t have to be a Christian to live out biblical truth. In fact, sometimes un¬believers work harder to obey the Golden Rule than many Christians! Unbelievers may live out the Golden Rule most of the time because it makes sense.
Fact 2: Obeying the Golden Rule all the time takes God’s one-of-a-kind strength. Brute willpower can help you do a lot of good. But to live the Golden Rule when lov¬ing gets tough takes the supernatural power only the Holy Spirit provides. The natu¬ral thing is to be mean to people when they’re mean to you!
Fact 3: You need the Bible to tell you how to act. Non-Christians might say they “listen to their heart” to tell right from wrong. But even if your conscience and com¬mon sense steer you right most of the time, they aren’t perfect. Your conscience can be affected by pressures outside you and urges inside you.
Fact 4: Being nice doesn’t mean you know God. That’s really hard to think about—especially about good people we like and admire. But here’s the truth: As kind and loving as a non-Christian can be, salvation comes through faith in Christ alone, not through following the Golden Rule. People need more than a commonsense love for others. They need a friendship with God himself, the source of love!
TALK: How could you answer someone like Nina, who says she doesn’t need to become a Christian because she follows the Golden Rule?
PRAY: God, there are great people all around us. Show us how to help them see that they still need to know you.
ACT: What nice people do you know who still need to know Jesus? Make a plan as a family to kindly and wisely share Jesus with them.