Loving the LOST

This column originally appeared in Outreach magazine. Be sure to check out Outreach and consider subscribing.

It’s fascinating that a lot of Christians don’t seem to like non-Christians, often referred to as the lost or the unchurched. Often we want to keep away from messy people—perhaps missing the obvious that we are messy as well.

Who’s on Your Friends List?

It’s interesting that after coming to Christ and growing in knowledge, we often distance ourselves from former friends. We seem to have less time for the hurting and struggling. We’ve found the thing that meets the need in our lives, but keep our distance from those who need the very thing we’ve found. I don’t think this separation is intentional, but it happens, and in the end, our intentions don’t matter.

Jesus lived differently.

One of the common criticisms Jesus faced was that he spent too much time with sinners. How many of us could be accused of spending too much time with the unwelcomed and unappreciated?

It wasn’t that Jesus was waiting for Paul to write “bad company corrupts good morals” in 1 Corinthians. No one better understood the importance of spiritual maturity, scriptural knowledge, a robust prayer life and positive influences than Jesus.

But he also knew these things were not for his personal benefit, but need to be shared with the lost. The Christian life is not about safety and comfort, but rather about finding yourself in a dangerous place of vulnerable compassion.

Separated From the Separated

One day, I was talking with one of my daughters about the dysfunction I experienced growing up. That kind of life is hard for her to imagine because our family doesn’t have those kinds of dysfunction.

She asked why some families go our way and others go the way of dysfunction. I told her there are several factors that determine personal and family stability, but in our case, we were changed by the power of the gospel.

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Ed Stetzer
Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., holds the Billy Graham Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College and serves as Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books.

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