Two common questions that I often get asked are:
- “How can I love and be around people who are not Christians without compromising my own faith?” and
- “How can I interact with people who have lifestyles I do not agree with, without them thinking I support their behaviors?”
What is compromising?
To compromise means to make concessions or accommodations to someone who does not agree with your beliefs or standards.
I was taught for years that I needed to stay away from people who are in the world (not a Christian or in a church). I was told the Bible was clear about this, but when I began to study it for myself, I was surprised at what I found.
Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15 NIV). But did He command us to stay away from people who need His love? On the contrary, Jesus said the two greatest commandments are to love God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:30–31).
Jesus also modeled for us being around people who were not part of the religious groups of that time.
We need to use wisdom and be safe, so if you struggle with things that are not good for you, then take time to remove yourself from those temptations.
When I gave my life to Jesus and got off drugs and alcohol, I still struggled with it for years. So I needed to stay away from those temptations — which included people and places — until God worked these things out of my life.
But this does not mean we should stay away from everybody that does not agree with us.
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Galatians 5:13-14 (NIV)
When I became a new Christian, I was afraid to hang out or eat lunch with people at work who were not believers. But God began to instruct me that this is okay to do and it is His heart to love people.
So how can we do this without feeling we are compromising our faith?
Love and not judge
I used to sit in the lunchroom at work reading my Bible by myself. Although this is a good thing to do, I was isolating myself from the people around me and they were viewing me as some sort of religious fanatic.
Our goal is not to separate ourselves from those who need the Lord, but to love them. Jesus demonstrated this as He hung out with people who were considered sinners. He was even accused of being a glutton and drunkard.
Yes, Jesus was accused of compromising His faith, but He gave us an example that He wants us to follow.
I recommend you find ways to connect with people and not worry about what they believe. Going to coffee, lunch or watching a sports game are great starters if you do not do this already. You might be surprised at how much people want to be around you, especially when they realize you do not judge them.
Tips for getting started
My wife and I started our first church in a New Age, hippie college town in the Midwest. God instructed me that if we wanted to reach that city we would have to love and not judge them.
Our worship team began going to the New Age coffeehouse open mic night and our love took that town by storm. We did not preach the gospel, hand out tracks or isolate people by making them feel uncomfortable around us. I was invited to speak at events and would start by saying, “I am not here to judge you.”
Within one year, we began to reach people for Jesus without doing altar calls. We demonstrated God’s love by doing kindness outreaches, serving the poor and having God parties. We were known as the “fun church.”
As seekers began to hang out with us, they got their questions answered and were being discipled on the spot before they even gave their lives to Jesus. This is how Jesus did it.
We had fun without compromising and people gave their lives to the LORD after they experienced His love!
~ Doug Addison
Doug Addisonis a prominent conference speaker captivating audiences with clean stand-up comedy and high energy prophetic messages, also shared on TV, radio and the Internet for over a decade. He brings laughter, fun and a unique prophetic style while empowering people to transform their lives, discover their destiny and understand dreams, tattoos and piercings. His powerful messages stay with his audiences long after hearing him.