The Strain of Relationships Between Believers and the Lost
Recently I have become more and more purposeful and outspoken about Jesus, the Bible and faith. The Great Commission has been weighing on my mind lately and I’m just done sitting back and letting people misinterpret and skew major doctrines and scripture. I need to remember that my Love for God and desire to please him should outweigh everything else in my life including the opinions of others when they work AGAINST the kingdom (Matthew 26:37, Galatians 1:10). When we allow people to misquote or misuse scripture and just silently sit by, we are not speaking out against false teaching and just allowing people to be led further away from the truth (lets keep in mind this speaking out should be done with a LOVING rebuke and not just hate-filled, prideful speech which is also sinful). This is especially difficult for me as much of my life I have been a people-pleaser.
Sadly, since faith is such an intensely personal and core issue for most (if not all) people, differences can quickly and easily turn into character attacks and create serious chasms in the relationship between people. We are to love everyone, even our enemies (Matthew 5:44), but believing this and doing this can be difficult (especially when under scrutiny or attack). I’m not a confrontational person, but recently in an argument with a friend of mine, the debate started to garner a personal tone and began to feel like a character attack more than an exchange of perspectives on scripture and faith. It’s hard to have things NOT get personal (for me at least) when my faith and scripture is questioned, attacked or ridiculed. I tend to get flushed, red faced and pretty intense in the discussion.
Where the tug of war lies for me is this: How often do we need to bring up faith to unbelieving friends and family? I feel like abandoning them and ending the relationship is not right, but neither is silently standing by when ungodly behavior or speech continually occurs. It’s hard to stay in a relationship with someone when you see them walking blindfolded toward a cliff and refuse to listen when you tell them to “WATCH OUT!”.
What are your experiences with this? How do you handle these relationships? At what point would you end a relationship?