I was sitting in class when my professor, who is also a pastor, shared a story about a homosexual couple walking hand-in-hand. He was with another pastor meeting people in the community in order to spread the gospel. My professor noticed the couple holding hands while walking down the street. He got angry. Just as he was about to make a condemning comment about the couple, his companion spoke.
With a crackle in his voice, he said something like –Doesn’t it just break your heart? Doesn’t it break your heart to know how badly that couple needs the gospel? To know they will die in their sin if they do not come to know Jesus?
Those comments brought tears to my professor’s eyes. He realized he had the wrong approach – the wrong mindset toward those without Jesus. His heart now breaks for the lost. I asked how he got to that point. It was not an easy journey. He earned a broken heart for the lost through much alone time with God in prayer and reflection.
The above story is true. The purpose of sharing is not to pick on homosexuality as it is one sin among many. Rather, the purpose is to illustrate how Christians do not often think lovingly of unbelievers, but instead are ready to condemn those all ready condemned.
Likewise, I am guilty of not having great compassion on unbelievers.
I have, however, been working on my own thought life toward unbelievers. I have come a long way in the last two years, though I have much further to grow in Christlikeness. I, too, was once a lost sinner weighed down by much unforgiven sin. I know what it is like to love my sin as an enemy of God. More importantly, I know what it is like to be a forgiven child of God.
I want everyone to know what it is like to be a child of God even though my attitude has not always shown it. I know love can break down barriers. Jesus was the perfect embodiment of love without compromising the truth of sin and need for repentance. That is how I want to be – like Jesus!
One way to develop a love for unbelievers is through a broken heart for them. As a Christian, I should not expect unbelievers to act as Christians. I try not to let their ungodly ways stir my heart toward an ungodly attitude. Scripture tells me that righteous anger is acceptable, but personally, my righteous anger is always one inch away from unrighteousness.
Lord, break my heart.
Maybe you are like me and need to continue learning to love the lost. Maybe you are learning to have a compassionate, broken heart over unbelievers. If so, I pray the above words encourage you on your journey, and that we might encourage each other.
Or maybe you are not like me and have a word to help the rest of us break our hearts for the lost. Please, share your encouragement with us!
Grace and peace,