How can we engage with unbelievers without having fellowship with darkness?

Bible scholar Ron Rhodes tackles this question from a listener.

“I’ve worked with a coworker for twenty-one years now. He’s an unbeliever and willingly renounces God. His glass is empty, let alone half-full. As much as I hate to say it, he can be a cancer in the company… I pray for him that he may be saved; I now find myself not even wanting to talk with him anymore. Scripture says to stay away from evil but Jesus says ‘Love your enemies.’ My faith is strong and growing and I want to do right by the Lord. Any thoughts?”

When we’re around people who are negative and even harsh, it can have a draining effect on our own spirit. How can we handle those situations?

“Even apart from spirituality, there may be a decision that needs to be made about that kind of person if that person is being damaging to a company, and those of us who have been in leadership know what that is like. But from a spiritual perspective, let’s keep in mind that some of the greatest saints used to be the worst sinners.”

Ron uses the apostle Paul as an example.

“The apostle Paul used to not just persecute the church but he was fully in line with Christians being executed, and you can’t get much worse than that.”

It all changed one afternoon. A man who was on his way to ambush followers of Christ fell off his horse and was ambushed himself – by God.

“He became a believer that not only shared the gospel, but became probably the greatest missionary that planet Earth has ever known.”

Ron draws a parallel for us today – an unbeliever may seem un-redeemable, but no one is too far from God. Keep choosing grace and compassion for that negative coworker and trust that God will use it in their heart.

“God is the one who transforms hearts and God is the One who’s in the business of changing lives. As long as there is breath in that person’s lung we continue to share the gospel with them and pray that God the Holy Spirit would open their eyes to the truth.”

Ron himself didn’t come to faith until he was in his late teens. He enjoyed getting in trouble as most teens did.

“Once I became a believer, the Lord just radically transformed my life…you probably wouldn’t recognize me after a couple of years.”

Even though we as human beings might give up on people, God never does. Keep praying for that person and keep sharing the good news with them. You may be the only light they ever encounter.

Key Scriptures: Psalm 23; Ephesians 4:30; Isaiah 44-46; Revelation 20; Job 1

Featured Songs: Jesus Loves Me by Chris Tomlin; Jesus, We Love You by Bethel Church Live; Sons and Daughters by North Point Music

Bible answers: Our identity in Christ

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