Bible Reading: Luke 19: I-to
I, the Son of Man, have come to seek and save those like him who are lost. Luke 19:10
PAUL EXITED the movie theater with some friends from the ski team and almost crashed into a group of guys from church. When Paul said hi to his church friends, they hit him with a look of disgust. Paul shrugged and kept walking, puzzling over the weird looks. They must have been upset with me because of who I was with.
Have you bumped into Christians who think it’s wrong to have good friends who are unbelievers? Or do you feel that way? Where should you draw the line when it comes to having non-Christian friends?
When it comes to showing agape love, the Bible says, “If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill all the requirements of God’s law” (Romans 13:8). As a Christian you are to make the health, happiness, and growth of anyone and everyone within your reach as important to you as your own.
Christians who think it’s wrong to have good friends among unbelievers often quote James 4:4: “Don’t you realize that friendship with this world makes you an enemy of God?” But that verse warns against buying into the world’s system of believing and behaving, not befriending the world’s people. Jesus spent so much time among unbelievers that he was mocked as a friend of sinners (see Luke 15:2). His openness to “sinners” like Zacchaeus was all part of his mission to “seek and save those like him who are lost” (Luke 19:10).
That mission of Jesus to save unbelievers gives you a huge clue about how to act in the world. If you can be friends with a non-Christian and keep up a positive influence for Christ, the relationship might be right. But if you are sucked into evil-if you are compromising Christian beliefs and behaviors-the friendship is most likely unhealthy.
There’s more to think about with guy-girl relationships. The Scriptures are very clear: “Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can goodness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). If you’re a Christian and you date a non-Christian, the physical and sexual attraction can lead to an “unequal” partnership. You might think you can “missionary date” someone into God’s kingdom. Don’t fool yourself. If you are emotionally attached, you will do way better to remain single and pray for the salvation of that guy or girl than to risk a close relationship that may damage your faith.
REFLECT: Is there anything in your attitude toward having non-Christian friends that needs to change? What is it?
PRAY: Dear Lord, I pray that my love for the non-Christians in my life will lead them to a loving relationship with you.