Ah, Jared's Java. Pleasant taste. Slight Monsterism.

Welcome to the home of my mind, where I brew my intellectual and spiritual joe. Sit back and let me pour you a cup or two. I promise not to cut you off, even after you get the caffeine jitters.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Unbelievers and You: The Truth

I first have to mention how disappointed I am with the mid-term elections. If you don't want to hear it, skip down to the next section. Don't get me wrong, the Republicans weren't doing much, and they weren't doing what they should have, but your foolin' yourself if you think it will get any better with Democrats controlling the House. The Democrats have already vowed to raise my taxes (yes, they actually said that) and to lower my wages even more by raising the federal minimum wage. I think they forgot that money doesn't grow on trees and employers can't just hand it out for nothing without charging more to get that money, and thereby you have the circumstances that just create superficial inflation that hurts most people, especially the lower-middle and middle-middle class. I try hard to avoid politics on my blog, but I am really frustrated, especially living on the "Left Coast." We have minimum wage at $7.64 in the state of Washington, and it is only slightly lower in Oregon. As of January 1st, it will be $7.80. Too bad no one will be raising my wages to compensate. And let me tell you, at earnings of just $10.00/hr that really hurts. Six years ago, Jen and I were able to get by on just my lowly pay of $9.50/hr when she was out of work for a few months. Now, we work hard to get by with both of us earning slightly more than that. My thanks goes out to all the jerks in power that just made me poorer...again.

I don't care what party you're from, the following is good news. The Democrats turned their back on longtime faithful Joe Lieberman. Love him, hate him, but the way they just gave him the cold shoulder and betrayed him made even me angry. Well, he won a sweeping victory as an independent candidate. Way to go, Joe. It's so nice to see the US political system hand out justice in a case like his. I hope that he feels free to pursue the agenda of his people now, and not the agenda a party forces upon him.

Now, about those unbelievers...

Allow me to re-introduce to you a passage from 2 Corinthians:
14 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?
15Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?
16Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,

And I will welcome you.
18"And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,"

Says the Lord Almighty.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Now read the following commentary paired with it from BibleGateway.com:

"It is wrong for believers to join with the wicked and profane. The word unbeliever applies to all destitute of true faith. True pastors will caution their beloved children in the gospel, not to be unequally yoked. The fatal effects of neglecting Scripture precepts as to marriages clearly appear. Instead of a help meet, the union brings a snare. Those whose cross it is to be unequally united, without their wilful fault, may expect consolation under it; but when believers enter into
such unions, against the express warnings of God's word, they must expect must distress. The caution also extends to common conversation. We should not join in friendship and acquaintance with wicked men and unbelievers. Though we cannot wholly avoid seeing and hearing, and being with such, yet we should never choose them for friends. We must not defile ourselves by converse with those who defile themselves with sin. Come out from the workers of iniquity, and separate from their vain and sinful pleasures and pursuits; from all conformity to the corruptions of this present evil world. If it be an envied privilege to be the son or daughter of an earthly prince, who can express the dignity and happiness of being sons and daughters of the Almighty?"

Usually, the argument goes like this, "We shouldn't be friends with unbelievers because what fellowship does darkness have with light? What could we possibly have in common anyway?" Well, since you asked, I'll be that your next door neighbor has a mortgage. I'll bet they have a family. I'll bet they eat food, and maybe you even enjoy beer or wine. I'd bet that they have hobbies and interests. I'll bet they feel hurt when someone does something wrong to them or when they injure themselves.

I don't know how this commentator can justify his stance when Jesus ate with the "sinners" and tax collectors. He reached out to a Samaritan woman who was living in sin. He showed mercy to an adulteress. He even forgave apostates (Peter, especially).

If we are to follow Christ's example, then we must reach out to these people. What would unbelievers in the community begin to say if you began to develop friendships with some of them, but as soon as they rejected the notion that they should believe in Jesus, or you determined that they were "too tough of a nut to crack," you quit being their friend? What kind of a testimony is that of God's love and grace?

The passage in 2 Corinthians is talking specifically of marriage. Don't be unequally yoked. That is a different story. "Evangelistic dating" is a nice excuse many use to walk outside of God's revealed moral will. But friendship evangelism is not. And I'd postulate that it might be one of the most biblical ways of bringing people into the Kingdom. I'd encourage you all to read Dr. Joseph Alrich's book entitled Lifestyle Evangelism. It has changed the way that I look at who I am and how I act on a day-to-day basis.


Kathy Brown said...

I'm totally with you on this one Jared. I believe it states clearly somewhere in the bible that we are to live IN this world, though not be OF it. Something to that effect. God also wants us to shine His light, so to speak. I'm thinking that the light is for those people still in the dark and not for those with their own lights. I don't know how anyone could recommend that we not make friends with unbelievers. Even "believers" struggle to believe, so we are all unbelievers at times anyways. Good grief!

The one thing I will say about fellowship, though, is that it is key to be accountable. We are meant to learn and grow with other Christians (by the way, thank you for letting me learn and grow with you!), so as usual, it seems to me that balance is a key in this area of life as well. I think some well-meaning Christians can go to extremes on either end, which is not what God would have (in my view) for us.

Dapoppins said...

chuckle. Most of my family are "unbelievers." No, we shouldn't cut ourselves off from those who don't belive as we do, but that dosen't mean we get to go bar hopping either.

Dapoppins said...

Liberman is a huge social Liberal, but he recognizes the terrorist threat and the WAR. I was grateful to see him win. As for the dems taking contorl...I just pray they prove us (conservatives) all wrong.

KingJaymz said...

There is a huge difference between enjoying beer or wine and going bar hopping.

Dapoppins said...

My husband likes ale...does that count? I just get heart burn. Diet Coke for me.