People not projects
Jesus went directly against the grain of society. He was called a ‘friend of tax collectors and sinners’ (Matthew 11:19 NIV). Some of the people around Him saw Him as a dangerous rebel, associating with those they thought of as low-lives and criminals, but the reality is that people criticised Him because He dared to love and forgive those that they’d already written off. They thought that He was supporting the acts of those living in less than healthy ways, but we only have to read John chapter 8 to know that’s not true. Jesus interacts with a woman who cheated on her husband, and His final words to her are ‘Go now, and leave your life of sin’ (John 8:11 NIV). He challenges her to change, but only after showing her real love. He knew that the most effective way to show others how to live God’s best life, free of sin, is to meet them where they’re at in their brokenness, and build a real connection with them. We should see our non-Christian friends as people to be invested in, not projects to be fixed. When Jesus and the disciples were sharing a meal with tax-collectors, the Pharisees asked the disciples ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’ (Luke 5:30 NIV). Jesus replied: ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance’ (vv.31-32 NIV). If we could fix ourselves, get ourselves cleaned up before coming to God, then we wouldn’t need Him. He came to us with open arms before we were His, and we’re called to do the same for those around us.
Message a friend who wouldn’t call themselves a Christian. Make plans to do something fun with them this week, just because.