Existential - Relationships with unbelievers

Beyond being obedient, which is enough in itself - is there any consolation in having befriended and shown love toward or shown God to someone who, in the end, never repents?

hate being around unbelievers. Not because they're different, not because I despise them - but because I know our time together will be temporary. What should be happy times are instead, for me - times of sorrow, because of this.

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josh p's picture

That assumes that the person will not be saved when you don't know that. You are to fulfill the great commission. Instead you should see it as a blessing because you get to obey God. After all where you not just as them at one point?

J Johnson's picture

josh p wrote:

That assumes that the person will not be saved when you don't know that. You are to fulfill the great commission. Instead you should see it as a blessing because you get to obey God. After all where you not just as them at one point?

 

No, I mean - if they go to their death, while you're still alive, and they're still rejecting God 'til their last breath.

 

But allow me to state my question differently.

First, it's not about fulfilling the great commission - I already know that's commanded and I stated that alone is enough of a reason to interact with unbelievers.

Second, this is about friendship, camaraderie, enjoyment.

Third, you can say that I don't know if person X will go to hell. That's basically true. But, I know that the majority of humanity will. So, even if a small number make it - most won't. Knowing the odds are high, and with a large sample size - knowing it's certain that many (most) will not make it to heaven, leaves me unable to enjoy spending time with almost anyone. This includes church members, as we know at any specific moment - many and probably the vast majority are lost.

Jim's picture

1 Corinthians 5:9-11, "I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person"

Application:

  • Normal and authorized to mix with lost people
  • But must not fellowship with Christians in gross sin (and perhaps under Church discipline)
  • Obviously the caveat & warning of 1 Corinthians 15:33 must be heeded: "Evil company corrupts good habit"

John 17:15, " I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one." [the immediate context of this is the disciples then alive with the Lord. But there is application to all who will believe as the following verse indicates]

John 17:20-21, "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me"

Finally those who find themselves married to a lost person (probably the circumstance being both H and W lost until one spouse is saved): 1 Corinthians 7:13-15, "And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy."

J Johnson's picture

Jim wrote:

1 Corinthians 5:9-11, "I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person"

Application:

  • Normal and authorized to mix with lost people
  • But must not fellowship with Christians in gross sin (and perhaps under Church discipline)
  • Obviously the caveat & warning of 1 Corinthians 15:33 must be heeded: "Evil company corrupts good habit"

John 17:15, " I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one." [the immediate context of this is the disciples then alive with the Lord. But there is application to all who will believe as the following verse indicates]

John 17:20-21, "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me"

Finally those who find themselves married to a lost person (probably the circumstance being both H and W lost until one spouse is saved): 1 Corinthians 7:13-15, "And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy."

 

Yes, Jim - I already knew it was allowed, but thank you. Smile

My difficulty isn't whether it's allowed, but how do we conquer the sorrow and enjoy life together with them? Are we intended to?

Jim's picture

J Johnson wrote:
how do we conquer the sorrow and enjoy life together with them? Are we intended to?

If it's the Lord's will, and it is!, find joy IN HIM and in His mission for you! There is the HOPE that you may influence them for Christ - "the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife," <----- there's a principle here - that of salt and light!

 

Jim's picture

J Johnson wrote:
.... leaves me unable to enjoy spending time with almost anyone. This includes church members, as we know at any specific moment - many and probably the vast majority are lost.

2 observations:

  1. "church members ...  the vast majority are lost": Response: You need to be in a church that emphasizes a "saved church membership" and the discipline of church members who are living like lost persons
  2. "leaves me unable to enjoy spending time with almost anyone". Response: You may have other issues that a Christian counselor should be able to Biblically address

 

Rob Fall's picture

analogy. He planted, Apollos watered, and  God gave the increase. I believe it's proper to adapt the passage, XYZ broke up the ground, UVW plowed, RST planted, OPQ watered, and God gave the increase.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

J Johnson's picture

Rob Fall wrote:

analogy. He planted, Apollos watered, and  God gave the increase. I believe it's proper to adapt the passage, XYZ broke up the ground, UVW plowed, RST planted, OPQ watered, and God gave the increase.

 

Not talking about witnessing.

Kevin Miller's picture

J Johnson wrote:

My difficulty isn't whether it's allowed, but how do we conquer the sorrow and enjoy life together with them? Are we intended to?

My wife has a similar experience with sorrow, only for a different sort of reason. My oldest daughter is disabled due to a neck injury. She is in adult foster care and is gaining a bit of weight while there. My wife has a hard time feeling joyful around her, seeing her limp around and knowing she makes poor food choices. I try to explain to my wife that things could get better for our daughter and we can be a good influence for better food choices, but all my wife sees is the current struggle. You look at unsaved people and see their current lostness and have strong feelings of empathy for their eternal situation, but until they die, their is still hope for them, and your influence in their lives could be beneficial for them. I think that is what Rob was getting at with the farming analogy.  Even just "breaking up the soil" in the life of a lost person is a good benefit of your interactions with them, and you don't need to feel sorrow among them or even feel that you might need to be actively witnessing with verses each time you are with them. I know you have no intention of trying to do that, but your very presence as a Christian among them is "letting your light so shine among men, so they may see your good works and glorify the father." They have hope, and you don't have to feel sorrowful.

Rob Fall's picture

XYZ and UVW may or may not have directly witnessed to the individual. In fact, in my analogy, they probably didn't. Many in our world have no idea or the wrong idea of a Biblical Christian. So, all XYZ and UVW may have done is shown to EFG that we "don't eat babies." That opens prepare the ground for RST and OPQ who do witness.

J Johnson wrote:

Rob Fall wrote:

Paul used a farming analogy. He planted, Apollos watered, and  God gave the increase. I believe it's proper to adapt the passage, XYZ broke up the ground, UVW plowed, RST planted, OPQ watered, and God gave the increase.

Not talking about witnessing.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

J Johnson's picture

Miller, 

The fact that they could convert gives me motivation to continue being an example. It doesn't, however, negate the pain. To have hope is to acknowledge what may not (and probably will not) be. Is there an answer for me other than 'maybe they'll get saved?'

 

Fall,

Lol @ not eating babies. Smile

 

Jim,

Perhaps so, but trying to find that where I live... 

josh p's picture

Jim is probably right that you should consider leaving if it's that bad, although your pastor seems caring st least.

J Johnson's picture

Jim,

Matt 7 - 13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Matt 7 - 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Correct me if I'm wrong, but as I understand the text - 13-14 refers to "followers," not humanity as a whole.

 

Josh,

I've been trying to contact that pastor to make sure we're on the same page, that it wasn't a miscommunication. Texted on two separate occasions, called once - no answer or reply to any of these. Tried to speak to him in church last night, he was too busy when I approached him and for the hour I was after the service there didn't bother to approach me despite not having responded to my texts... Still hoping he calls back, but so far I've gotten nothing. 

So, whether I'm wrong or he is - doesn't matter if we can't reconcile it because he won't respond to me. 

 

But, this is going almost completely off topic. My issue is mostly with people outside the church, and relationships with them.

Rob Fall's picture

Consider the horror stories the media and academia tell folks about us. Though, I was being a bit hyperbolic. Remember, the New England Puritans accused us of condemning infants to hell because we didn't hold with infant baptism.

J Johnson wrote:

SNIP

Fall,

Lol @ not eating babies. Smile

 

Jim,

Perhaps so, but trying to find that where I live... 

Hoping to shed more light than heat..