Five foundational principles to transform your relationships with non-Christians.
1. Cultivate the value of caring.
Luke 10:25-37 —Many of us think we care for others because we have no animosity toward others. But Jesus knows better. He knows that caring is only proved in the willingness to sacrifice for others. We are all familiar with the parable of the Good Samaritan but the pivotal interpretive clue for why Jesus told the parable is in verses 25-29, especially verse 29. Take a look. Real care is sacrificial and costly.
2. Emphasize Obedience.
Emphasize obedience in your own life and in the lives of those you equip. Basic, generous hospitality is not an issue of giftedness or talent, it is an issue of obedience. We are to consider others as more important than ourselves. Period. (Cf. Phil. 2:3)
3. Be Real.
Authenticity is a rare quality these days. Just be yourself. There is no need to be mushy or maudlin but there is a need to be genuinely concerned and caring. Neighbors respond with good favor when they are shown basic kindness. Retrieving a wind-tossed recycle bin, tomatoes from a garden, prayer offered for comfort when a loved one has died, shoveling a sidewalk or driveway, are all simple gestures but they open doors to greater things.
4. Be Boldly and Humbly Confident.
The two qualities are not mutually exclusive. We should be bold (and praying for boldness) all the time on the basis of the truth of the gospel. But we also should be saturated with humility. God saved us; we didn’t save ourselves. We have no claim to greatness. Humility is disarming. Care is disarming. Unashamed boldness coupled with humility is attractive.
5. Know that You Will be Ripped Off.
After having numerous homeless men stay in our home, I can tell you that not every situation has a happy ending. Getting ripped off or taken advantage of will happen. It’s part of the price of living for Jesus. But you will be surprised too by the generosity and thankfulness of some of those you seek to care for and reach for the sake of Christ.
People need, your neighbors need the gospel. They need you to love them enough to risk their rejection. They need you to love them enough to discomfort yourself so they might have the comfort of Christ forever.
Companion Post: How to Fall in Love with the people you are trying to reach