For many years of my faith journey, I kept all my beliefs in my back pocket. I didn’t want to ruffle feathers, and I didn’t want people to judge me.
I knew I wanted more of what sat in my back pocket, but I also knew how some of my closet friends and family felt about people who follow Jesus.
Faith, at least in my circles, wasn’t exactly the “coolest” or most celebrated thing.
So my back pocket is where it sat.
Now, my faith is something I openly speak about and have no problem saying that it’s the most important thing in my life.
Yet, the faith of some friends and family hasn’t changed at all.
In fact, I have people in my life who mock Christianity and who probably roll their eyes every time I post something that stands for Jesus.
Sometimes it hurts my feelings.
Sometimes I want to shut down.
Sometimes I want to defend myself and Jesus.
But you know what I always come back to?
I still love these people so much.
And you know what else?
They still love me.
(Even if they think I’m a crazy, Jesus weirdo, they still love me.)
I know the importance of having a good, solid faith community around you. I know that I need mentors and friends who can keep pointing me back to Jesus.
This is super important.
But, I cannot believe for one minute that Jesus would tell us not to spend time with people who aren’t Christian.
In fact, I think he would encourage it.
Of course it’s important that we don’t take on the ways of the world, and that we guard our hearts.
And honestly, I know there are certain situations where we do need to cut toxic, hurtful people out of our lives.
But that doesn’t mean that someone who doesn’t share our faith should automatically but dropped.
That’s really not the heart of Jesus.
So as I’ve battle this in my heart and mind I’ve come to this conclusion:
I want to love people who don’t know Jesus. I want them to come around me and feel safe and comforted. I want them to know that they are valuable and important in this world.
I want them to know this not so that I can try to convert them to be a Christian. I’m not trying to be nice with a hidden agenda.
I want to do this because it’s what I’m called to do.
It’s what we are called to do as children of God.
To be imitators of His radical love.
To see EACH of His beautiful children as worthy.
They may never, ever believe in Him.
That’s between them and God.
But I want them to know that if they ever change their mind or become more curious about the man Jesus, they always have a place to come, and will be welcomed with open arms.
But even if they don’t ever change their mind, I still want them around, I still care deeply about them, and they are always welcomed with open arms.
I don’t see them as secondary because of their faith.
Just because people don’t follow Jesus doesn’t mean we can’t still show His love.
So if you’re wondering how to handle people in your life who don’t share your faith, I’d tell you to look at the greatest commandment.
(All of them).
~Kelli Bachara, The Unraveling Blog