Sorrow for the Nonbeliever

Romans 9:1-5

1I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit,

2that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart.

3For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,

4who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises,

5whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

Paul’s letter is now taking a turn to discuss the difference between Christianity and Judaism, so I gather, and he opens with explaining how the community he had grown to love. The people and religion he fought for, that he sought out Christians for in the beginning of his career.

Now he is saddened by their rejection of Christ. I’m starting to understand this aspect more and more as I grow and understand the fullness of His love. I notice more and more that as I witness and even become subject to the indifference of the world, I am becoming more pitiful about them than I am angry.

I’m realizing that they do not know what is available to them. They reject something they have no knowledge of, only to try to us it against Christians. Ever have someone throw a bible verse back in your face as evidence that “you aren’t what you claim to be”? What exactly do I claim to be? Do I claim to be perfect or better? The ignorance of nonbelievers becomes more clear to me. I don’t see it as something worth getting angry over, rather something that is more and more touching my heart. I’m slowly working at doing something about it.

I’m not perfect. I’m broken. Just like every other Christian you see. The difference is we no longer have to live with the burden of our brokenness. Praise God for His grace and mercy. Nonbelievers don’t see that though, why is it? Is it how we act? Is it what we see? they see us pour into churches sunday mornings. Wednesday evenings. We leave and get into an accident, drop something that breaks, pinch our hand in the drawer at work and we curse and get upset. We snap back at someone we feel is attacking us, we cut someone off on the road with a Jesus sticker on our car. We fight back when someone hurls the Bible at us. How do we react?

Do we sit there and defend ourselves? Do we defend our self righteousness? Or do we explain the difference? Do we show our supposed attacker that we aren’t different, we are just like them. Flawed, full of sin, without hope….until we accept Christ’s sacrifice and forgiveness? It’s not about being right or about being holy, it’s about recognizing we are nothing without Him. Keep it in mind next time someone slings a verse at you. think about the truth behind their accusation and be honest. Tell them why you are a Christian and how they can be one too. Tell them what it means to be a Christian. Don’t try to prove yourself by slinging scripture back. Remember, to them it means nothing. To them its a set of rules we are slaves to. Explain how we are set free, not enslaved.

How will you react?

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