“How do you feel when you meet people who aren’t Christians?”
A girl asked us this question at a Q&A the other day. For a few moments nobody said anything, it’s a difficult question. It’s a great question. I think a believer’s response to this question says a lot about their faith. It wasn’t until the end of the Q&A that I really arrived at my thoughts on the question.
It took me so long to find words to go along with the way I feel about non-Christians because it’s a complicated emotion. For me it’s not so simple as sadness, or so self-righteous as pity, but more like longing. I'll come back to this in a bit.
Because we're human and have sinned, Jesus came to earth to die and be raised from the dead to reconcile us to God. This is probably a good way to put the very basic foundation of the Christian faith. But of course, it's immeasurably more than that. As I've grown in my (still basic) understanding of God and life, I've come to see how everything works together. It's all so intricate and beautiful. It starts in learning more about sin and what it means to turn away from God. That's when we begin to better understand our condition as humans - broken. Then there's Jesus and our salvation (so great! but not to be discussed here). Then we can develop into the finer points of faith. Understanding things like love and humility is difficult, but by seeing how they work relationally, and seeing how they are embodied in our limited knowledge of God, one begins to see a bigger picture of God, life, faith, etc. It all becomes a wonderfully interwoven worldview based upon the foundation mentioned earlier.
Coming back around, when I see people who don't have such a worldview I feel a longing. When I see people making choices that don't go along with this faith, I long so deeply for them to see all the intricate beauties that follow from, "We believe in God, the Father almighty...". Instead of chasing a surface level, self-discovery based understanding of concepts like love, kindness, beauty, morals, faith, I long for them to see the world as held together by the one true God. I want this because there's so much we miss in life when we seek cheap thrills, or whatever feels right at the time. Most of all, I want this so that they would know the joy and love, beyond words, that comes from knowing the Father.
So what should I do about this longing? I'm not sure I'll ever have THE answer to that question. Throwing the truth at people often does more harm than good. That's why Jesus didn't just rant about all the stuff we mess up. He cared for the lost and the broken, and He died for all of us. On the flip-side, leaving them alone would be awfully sad. How can we believe something too great for words and not share it? Whatever it looks like for each of us, it should be done out of love for others.
So how do I feel about my relationships with non-Christians? It's complicated. However, I will never stop learning how best to love them and to share with them this beautiful faith.