Interacting With Unbelievers

Posted on March 25, 2021

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By David Ettinger

‘Cringe’ Comments
I enjoy reading comment sections under online news stories, particularly Christian-based stories. However, I cringe whenever I read comments by supposed Christians berating unbelievers.

This occurs when unbelievers write something such as: “You Christians … go back to your fairytale God”; “God? Which God are you talking about? There are more than 500.” “There is no God, and you can’t prove there is.”

I hate it when supposed Christians reply as such: “Which God? You will find out when you are burning in Hell”; or “You’ll discover there’s a God just before He condemns you for eternity.”

This is NOT the way Christians should react! This said, how should Christians interact with unbelievers?

Back to Jude
A few blogs ago, I wrote on Jude verses 20-21. I now return to Jude, this time verses 22-23.

The Book of Jude deals with false teachers infiltrating the Church. To these deliberate foes of the faith, the Bible speaks harshly. However, there are unbelievers who are not ill-intentioned but confused or unsure. Of them, Jude instructs Christians to:

Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear – hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

Let’s break it down.

1. “Those Who Doubt”
This verse applies to those in or out of the Church. They could be those who attend church, but struggle with the truths of Christianity, that is, that all people are born sinners worthy of death, but that Jesus – who is God – died for our sins.

These “who doubt” are not trying to be difficult, but are having trouble accepting the teachings of the Bible. How are we to react to them? Should we say something such as, “Oh, so you doubt, huh? Well, when you’re burning in the flames of Hell, all your doubts will be removed.”

No! Rather, we are to “be merciful.” We are to pray for them and offer to help them understand truths with which they wrestle. We are not to castigate them, but be merciful knowing that if they do not come to an acceptance of Jesus as Lord, they will face eternal judgment.

So, the first way to interact with unbelievers is with mercy.

2. “Save Others by Snatching Them from the Fire”
These are individuals on the precipice – those on the verge of forever denying Christ’s deity, hence condemning themselves to the fires of Hell. We are NOT – as would some online commenters – to bid them Von Voyage and send them on their way!

Rather, we are to lay the truth before them. We are to lovingly but boldly explain precisely what the afterlife holds for those who reject Christ, and do our utmost to convince them otherwise. Yes, I know only God can save a soul, but He often uses people to accomplish it.

If you sense someone is on the verge of rejecting Christ for good, bring out the heavy theological artillery and tell them what they need to know.

So, the second way to interact with unbelievers is by being lovingly direct in communicating the Gospel.

3. “Show Mercy, Mixed With Fear”
This is more of a warning to the Christian, speaking of a situation where interacting with a particular unbeliever can cause us to sin.

If you are trying to share Christ with someone ensnared in deep sin and you fear being drawn into it, you have to step back. Don’t bring spiritual harm upon yourself. If you must break off communication with such a person, do so, but mercifully. Pray for that person and make yourself available should they ever want to talk.

So, the third way to interact with unbelievers is with tender caution; walk away if you must, but do so with compassion.

Proper Interaction
To those false teachers sold out to Satan, deal harshly. However, most unbelievers don’t fall into this category. How to deal with them? Note the operative word in these two verses: “Mercy.”

Be merciful to unbelievers knowing the fate of those who leave Earth having denied Christ. Do not belittle them; do not wish harm upon them; and do not give up on them; but, as Jude says, “be merciful … show mercy.”