“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” (Matt. 5:14)
My lovely wife and I had an opportunity to speak to someone we have met occasionally, whom I believe to be a brother in Christ, and he mentioned something in passing, how when he enters a room in the place where he is employed, not only the topic of conversation changes, but the demeanor of those who now find themselves in his presence does also.
This speaks of a man who speaks of Christ, whose heart is captivated enough by the Lord Jesus Christ to share Him with others. One who is concerned with the eternal souls of those he meets.
My beautiful wife is well aware of this same set of circumstances, for she works with those whom she was around before the Lord called her to Himself, and the idle banter, the off-color jokes, the things of the world and self are rarely if ever the conversational topics she enters into with them anymore, nor do they further attempt to retain her as one of their own.
They serve the same master; she has a new one.
“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” (John 15:18)
These actions and reactions of those who do not know Christ as Lord are perhaps the most subtle forms of hatred, being ostracized for following Christ, for rejecting the one they still follow, for walking in the light that they will not approach.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2nd Cor. 6:14)
None, but unless you have been blessed to spend the entirety of your day around brothers and sisters in Christ, into the darkness is where you go every day, into enemy territory.
Do you dim your light down so as not to offend, or do you keep it burning so bright that no one will even speak to you? There is a balancing point, a dimmer switch if you will, that we must employ when we are in the presence of those that if they die today, they will die in their sins. We are not concerned with offending; the Word of God will do that all on its own. Truth, Scriptural truth always convicts the heart, though not always towards the Savior.
Because all are created in the image of God, all will hate you while at the same time want more than anything to join you on the path. “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” (1st Cor. 14:33)
These feelings, these thoughts within those we speak of here are confusing to them, and a deep, theological stance is not the wisest one to initially take with them. Remember, He called you where you were, He came to you and offered His hand to you. The preaching of the cross will be foolishness to them, but they will listen towards that which honestly show them that you truly care.
Love starts with compassion, my friends.
Listen to them, hear what they are saying, grieve or rejoice with them, no matter what state of mind they are in, go there with them. Unless you are positive you will never meet this person again, if you are sure as any can be that you will have the opportunity to speak with them again, then take very small steps with them. The goal is to lead them to the cross, to reveal to them that you honestly care, and that you care because there is One who eternally cares for you.
The confusion will lesson as the preaching of the cross is revealed as truth to their hearts, they may not accept the love offered, but they will know there is One who is willing to give it to them, One who loves them enough that He died for them.