Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Love Even the Farthest from God (1 Timothy 6:3-5)

Today’s scripture: 1 Timothy 6:3-5

Wow. Paul didn’t pull any punches, did he? Look at some of the words he used to describe those who “advocate a different doctrine.”

They are envious, cause strife, use abusive language … have depraved minds. They cause “constant friction” with those who they think use “godliness [as] a means of gain.”

When you read these words, can you think of anyone who is an illustration of this kind of person? I think of the “new atheist” movement, and how they actually renounce God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They accuse Christ-followers of being manipulative of others, brainwashing them to our way of thinking.

Quite a while ago, I watched a debate between two of these “new atheists” and two evangelicals, and it just about broke my heart. In all honesty, neither side won. But the anger that spewed from the atheists was heartbreaking. I can only imagine how lost they must feel. It’s one thing to say, “I don’t know if there’s a God or not, but I really don’t feel it’s relevant to me.” It’s quite another to say, “There absolutely is no God. But if there is, and He’s the God you describe, then I’d rather be in hell then spend eternity with Him.” The pain that causes words like that … I can’t imagine.

Instead of condemning those who “advocate different doctrines” or who debate “controversial” topics, what if we showed them love and grace? What if we treated them with compassion? What if we quietly and gently illustrated true godly love?

Maybe—just maybe—we could influence even those farthest from God to see His truth.

It’s worth a try. 

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