Authentically Loving Non-Christians

Matt Ferrell reminds us of the importance of cultivating genuine friendships with lost people and loving them where they are.

At one of our recent Thursday night band rehearsals, Matt Ferrell shared with the team a simple opportunity he recently had to reconnect with a former co-worker from the Wilmington area. By simply being available to his friend over the years to listen to his concerns and questions and by displaying genuine love, Matt earned the right to share Jesus with his friend. Let’s turn now and hear in Matt’s own words the way he displayed genuine Christ-like love to his lost friend.

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12390930_10203669863306382_5632349428653110254_n Matt and Jaclyn are expecting their first baby in July.

Jesus commands us to love one another. Not only are we to love fellow Christians but we are also to love unbelievers. But what exactly does this mean? I believe that the answer to that question can be found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 where we find what is perhaps the greatest definition of love given in scripture. It tells us that, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” Showing others the type of love listed in this passage will go a very long way in reaching this lost and broken world.

Several years ago I worked for a small startup company in Wilmington, NC. While I was there I had the opportunity to work with many unbelievers. Some were self proclaimed atheists and others were agnostic. My workplace quickly became my mission field, however, you wouldn’t find me standing on my desk preaching to my co-workers! Nothing wrong with it if that’s your style but I took a different approach. My game plan was to love these people like 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Eventually, the way I talked, treated others, listened, etc. caught the attention of a couple of my co-workers which opened up some great conversations about our personal lives and eventfully we were able to develop more personal relationships outside of work. Eventually I became close enough with one particular co-worker and earned the right to share my story with him. I was able to share the gospel to an unbeliever who may have never been open to it or given me the time of day had I not demonstrated that I truly cared about him. He attended church with me and often had questions but always hesitated to that step of surrendering his life to Christ. As time went by I continued to pray for him and continued to be Jesus to him in any way that I could.

After a year and some change I moved to Raleigh after accepting a new job. This co-worker and I stayed in touch closely at first but as time passed our conversations started getting further and further apart. God continued to put him on my heart and I prayed for him often. Recently he called just to chat. It was the first time we had spoken in about 4-5 months. He expressed that he wanted to come see me and that he would even come to church with me if he stayed a Saturday night. He also shared some personal things he was going through in his life and allowed me to comfort him and give some advice. I don’t think it was until recently that I realized the impact I had on him during the year and a half we worked together. I realized that the love I showed him really payed off! It earned me some real credibility with my lost friend.

As far as I know he hasn’t given his life to Christ yet. He is a seeker. I know that Christ is still working on him and I am ready to be that vessel Christ uses in his life. I just have to continue loving him and praying that God will remove the blinders from his eyes so that he can see the love that Jesus has for him!

This experience has shown me that loving one another goes a very long way and that we must practice patience while God works in the lives of those that we love.

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