Do you spend all of your time with people who are like you? People who believe what you believe and approach life looking through the same lenses as you? I believe this is a common mistake believers make if they’re not careful.
I have a young friend, Whit, who is a musician. In his world, he crosses paths with many different types of people. The other day I was in my favorite coffee shop working on my website when Whit walked in with a young man who honestly looked like he could have been Charles Manson’s son. He had the same long hair, facial hair, tattoos all over his body, piercings and coal black eyes. Whit introduced me to this young man who shook my hand and said, “He brought me in here so I could try a cup of that Jesus crack he created.” He was referring to a specialty coffee called “Victory in a Cup” Whit created to help raise awareness and financial support for the fight against human sex trafficking in America. This young man went on to tell me he needed a place to crash for four or five days and Whit offered him a place to stay. When they left, I found myself dumbfounded. First, I responded in mama mode, thinking, “What is Whit thinking? This guy could be an ax murderer. Has he lost his mind?” Then, I felt convicted, because I probably wouldn’t have stopped to talk to this young man, let alone offer him a place to stay in my home. The Lord brought Hebrews 13:2 to mind as they left the coffee shop, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”
Psalm 1:1 says, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.” It doesn’t say blessed is the man who walks away from the wicked, turns his back on sinners and refuses to have a conversation with mockers. While we’re encouraged to avoid seeking advice from wicked people, and we should never follow the path they walk down, we shouldn’t avoid them completely. We’re called to be in the world but not of the world [John 17:14-16]. We are called to love the unlovable [Matthew 9:36, John 15:12, Romans 5:8]. We’re called to be Jesus with skin on, loving, not judging all He brings into our lives. Love covers a multitude of sins and it is love that will stir the heart of the lost to turn to Jesus [1 Peter 4:8]. Jesus loved all people. He told the Pharisees “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick” and He expects us to live our lives accordingly [Matthew 9:12, Mark 2:17].
Whit was Jesus with skin on to the scary looking young man who crossed his path. He later told me this young was the polar opposite of a believer. In fact, his style of music contradicted everything Whit stood for and sang about, but Whit said, “He was kind, man, considerate and had such a servant heart. He convicted me in the way I live, so focused on myself instead of others.” It’s amazing how the Lord will bring us ministry opportunities not only to teach and bless the ones we minister to, but to teach us and minister to us as well.
Who do you spend your time with at work, in your neighborhood or school? Do you turn and go the other way when you see the person who holds different beliefs than you, who maybe challenges you all the time or rubs you the wrong way? Would you be willing to strike up a conversation with him or her? See where she’s coming from. Ask him what he believes. Just be nice to him. Look for ways to serve her. You never know when the very person you’re trying to dodge is your next divine appointment.
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