“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:3-4 NKJV
As believers, how we treat others, especially unbelievers, matters a lot. Even before we preach the gospel, our behaviour to them is usually their first impression of Christianity. We must take displaying our love for them through our actions seriously.
How do we truly love unbelievers? Begin by praying for them. We must spend time praying for their souls. Consider Apostle Paul’s advice to Timothy, his spiritual son.
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them, intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.”- 1 Timothy 2:1-2 NLT
If we are to pray for everyone, we must include our unbelieving friends. They must constantly be in our prayers because, as Apostle Paul emphasised in our anchor scripture, God desires that all men be saved.
Secondly, if they need financial assistance, give to them according to your ability, and pray for them if they are sick. Make every effort to be there for them. These little acts of kindness go a long way in their lives. We cannot desire the salvation of their souls and be unintentional in our love walk towards them.
Apostle Paul rightly admonished the Corinthian church when he said “if I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”- 1 Corinthians 13:1 NLT
Next, patience is key in dealing with unbelievers. You must learn to tolerate their excesses while standing up for what is right. Our perfect example, Jesus, only mingled and ate with sinners to the extent that he could save them (Mark 2:13-17). We should interact with unbelievers with understanding.
Finally, unbelievers must hear the gospel preached by us (Mark 16:15). Whether it is convenient or not, God’s instruction to us is to preach the Gospel to every unsaved person we meet (2 Timothy 4:2). This is the ultimate goal of loving them intentionally. It is our positive ulterior motive that we love them enough not to let them go to hell.
Jesus demonstrated His love for us by laying down His life for our salvation. We must also demonstrate Christ’s love to others by telling them about Jesus.
Bible Reading Plan: Genesis 27-28