Support With Loving The Lost
When focusing on the lost I have put them into three groups:
Someone who is struggling with their faith in Jesus Christ.
Someone who does not believe in Jesus Christ or any God at all.
Someone who was once a believer in Jesus but has lost their faith for some reason.
They each need love and to some extent they need it demonstrated differently. I have placed these in order of difficulty. The first one is the easiest to show love to and the third one is the most difficult. I am talking about loving the person in the situation not converting them to Christianity. Let’s start with the first one.
1. Loving Someone As They Struggle With Their Faith
I think this is the easiest out of the three when it comes to loving someone that is dealing with a loss of faith. This person is not lost but has possibly contemplated letting go. Trials have come up in their life and they have done everything that they know to do. They are waiting on God to show up and take control of the situation but are becoming restless in their wait. They could be facing doubt and may be feeling a little anxious. I say this is the easiest “lost” person to love because they are not yet lost. They know God and still believe in Him but they are dealing with doubt. Maybe they are doing their best at work and have yet to be noticed by their boss, and need a raise. Maybe they are a parent and they are having a rough time with their child. These people want to see things turn around. They have hope that God can still do what has yet to be done but they are fighting the ever-present doubt that is creeping in.
How to Show love to them?
People in this category aren’t opposed to you praying with them or reminding them of the things that God can do. They are hopeful and in seek of guidance. They are likely to go to church with you, read the Word along with you, and believe in the miracle that they are seeking. What they are in need of is some love and encouragement. They want to know that they are not alone. They are seeking an encourager.
2. Loving Someone Who Believes in Another God or No God At All
This person can be difficult to deal with if you are coming at them with the agenda to convert them over to Christianity. If you are solely in the relationship to “save them” then you can expect an uphill battle. For example, my daddy was a Muslim and he was grounded in his belief in Islam. At first, our conversations were all based on the fact that he was sick and I wanted him to go to heaven when he died. As a Christian, I believe that salvation can only be received through faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:11-12). In fear, I made it my mission to force Jesus into every conversation that we had.
Eventually, I realized that it was getting us nowhere and was simply putting a strain on our relationship. After realizing this, I began to talk to him about his day and my day. I found it much easier to treat him as a normal human being and not as a problem to solve. We did have conversations about our different stances on faith, on many separate occasions but it was more organic. It was no longer about trying to convert and “save” my daddy it was about understanding and getting to know him.
How To Show love to them?
This person needs to find faith in Jesus through the way you interact with them. Instead of throwing Jesus in every conversation truly live the life of a believer as you interact with them. This won’t work if you aren’t in prayer intending to seek God’s guidance. You need to really have a relationship with God or you will only be able to spew biblical rhetoric at them. That alone does not usually work. They don’t need to only hear that Jesus is the way they need to see him active in your life.
3. Loving Someone Who Has Lost Faith In Jesus Christ
This is the hardest, or at least it was for me. Here, you are dealing with someone who knows Jesus and was once a follower but has turned away. They know the scriptures, they have grown up in the church, they know the Christian lingo but wants nothing to do with it. It is certainly harder when it is a spouse, sibling, or parent that you see on a daily basis. Seeing them change from a believer to a non-believer and witnessing their rejection of Christ can be heartbreaking. I have personally been in such a place. I lost faith in God after a very difficult time in my life. I was in need of love but I was hurting and was pushing everyone away that was close to me. What helped me during that time was when a someone would simply listen to me, or when they would talk to me and not try to force Jesus into the conversation. I was looking to be treated as a person and not some recruit to add to a list of people that got saved because of them.
How To Show Love To Them?
Might I encourage you to take a second and ask yourself one question: What happened that caused them to turn away? Remember this is a person who knows God, believed in Christ, knows the right way but has turned from it. If you are going to love this person you must spend time getting to know what happened. When I turned from God I was angry and scared, but I wasn’t talking. Sometimes, the person isn’t willing to talk about it and sometimes it takes time for them to open up to you. I would say pray, pray, and pray some more. While trying to show this person love it can be easy to find yourself drained. Their walls may be up and you don’t want to make things worse. In order to keep your own peace of mind, you may find that you have to love them from a distance, but each case is different. Pray about how to show love to them. God knows what happened and he knows what that person needs. Also, keep in mind that God may only want to use you to plant the seed and someone else to help it grow.
I truly hope that this has been helpful to you.
If you fit into any of these categories, I would like to encourage you to seek Christ out for yourself. It is so common to hear other’s talk about what God has personally done for them. But it is truly special when you have your own personal story. Matthew 7:7-8 tells us that if we seek God with a sincere heart He will be found by us. Let me challenge you to get into His Word with an open heart and find Him for yourself.
Thank you for coming back again today.
Please come back again tomorrow. There will be a prayer for those who once knew God but have lost their way, those who are on the verge of giving up, and then those who have never personally have known Christ as their Lord and savior.