It happened again just recently. I was reading responses posted to an online article pertaining to a natural disaster. A few people wrote that they wanted nothing to do with a God who couldn’t or wouldn’t prevent such a catastrophe. My gut response was to become angry with that kind of fatalistic thinking. My heart response was that I grieve for people who are ignorant about who God is, his creation and the fall of mankind that brought sin to the world.
It seems as though more and more people in America have developed a cynical attitude toward God and Christianity. As followers of Jesus, what do we do with this? Do we lament, wring our hands and scoff at this willful rejection of God and what we know to be his wonderful outpouring of grace through Jesus? Do we rant right back and throw Scripture at people who don’t understand? Do we call them fools? The Bible does: “Rise up, O God, and defend your cause; remember how fools mock you all day long” (Psalm 74:22).
No, we have learned through the teachings of Jesus that although he was certainly forthright in calling the teachers of the law and the Pharisees fools—“You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred?” (Matt. 23:17)—he nevertheless had great compassion for those who were lost—“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10).
We can become quite scornful toward the multitudes that reject our Savior and by association reject us and what we believe. We can hide out among ourselves and gravitate into clusters with only those who are likeminded. We can bash naysayers, lash out at intrusions of religious liberty and mock those who are currently headed toward an eternity apart from God and his love.
Or we can love. We can allow our hearts to be broken for those who are perishing and seek actions that are at the heart of God: “May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance” (2 Thess. 3:5).
I still have that tendency to want to argue with people who reject my beliefs. I still have that initial emotional, visceral resentment toward people who mock God. Until I catch myself and remember that I (we) are Christ’s ambassadors! We are to bring the message of hope and restoration to this generation.
What a privilege that is. What a magnificent thing Jesus has called us to—to go and make disciples. Let’s remember to keep loving the “unlikelies,” those unlikely to want to know God. Who knows, one day—if we don’t give up on them first—they just might become followers of Jesus and even better ambassadors of the Gospel than we are since they fully understand the mindset of people who hold onto unbelief.
“Lord, help me to not respond with anger and a desire for verbal combat to people who are antagonistic toward the things of God and even toward me. Help me to love, to allow my heart to be broken for them. Help me to find avenues for being a humble ambassador of the truth to them. Help me to be your messenger of hope to a world that has lost hope.”