I don’t know how anyone gets through hard times without hope. My belief in God is what sustains me; without him, where would I look for hope? Through him, I know I can hold on to what is true. One of the things I’m most grateful for, one of the things I really love about God, is that he keeps his promises. How on Earth could I cope short of a true, loving, God of Hope?
I have served many clients who are non-believers. I love them. I respect them. And I hope for them Truth, a light in the darkness that only one can provide. I don’t preach to them, and I certainly don’t judge them. I hope to always love on them and reflect my Father’s love for them. Many of my non-believing clients have shared that they once had faith. As one man told me,
Church is what “drove me to be an atheist.”
Those are the saddest words I have ever heard! The behavior and unloving actions of Christians drove him to choose atheism? Dear God, what are we doing? I wanted to hug this man. I wanted to shout and tell him, “Don’t listen to them!” I wanted to tell him there are beautiful Christians in the world who do not judge, and who are not prideful, and who are…so much more. Those mere words. Such emptiness. I realize he had a choice, and it would serve him well to put his faith in God and not man. Do you think he was in a place to hear any of that from me? He needed love, unconditional; not judgment, and certainly not condemnation. In the moment he made that sad statement he needed more than words, much less wordy preaching from me.
The best I can do is to show him (and other non-believers); to love him like Jesus loves. If through my imperfect self I can reflect my Father’s love, maybe then he will be willing to listen to someone. I won’t insist on being that someone who will penetrate his pain and his untrusting spirit to the point of surrender. I am a seed planter. I can help individuals with their problems, and even teach them skills to help them thrive in life. And once in a great while, not often enough, I have the privilege of witnessing someone as they choose to become a believer. I love when that happens! But they don’t have to do that in front of me; I’m never going to try to force it. It’s not about me.
Jesus didn’t drag people to the cross, nor did he pounce. He loved them, unconditionally, right where they were.
I want to do that. I love talking about the Lord and the Magnificent Gift he has provided for us all. Unfortunately, I don’t always get to do that since my clients are not all believers. They are tired of hearing the words without action. For that reason, so that I can be approachable to all, I no longer refer to myself as a Christian Counselor. I am that, but mostly, I’m a grateful Christian who is privileged to serve people as a counselor. I’m not denouncing anything. I’m not shunning my faith, obviously. I love Jesus and continue to serve him. Jesus was called Counselor. He didn’t tout to people that he was Messiah Counselor. He simply served. He authentically, and beautifully, loved. I am not worthy to put myself in the same sentence as Christ. I understand that by referring to myself simply as a counselor (or coach), I may be provided a better opportunity to serve non-believers. I count it an honor.
I can’t help but wonder how many non-believers and believers I’ve pushed away in my earlier adult years by overzealous reactions as a super-Christian. I can only pray they were shown love by those who God sent. This has been a huge part of my own personal growth over the last couple of decades. It is important for me to embrace and act upon that which I am committed:
In all things, love.
Father, help me reflect your love beautifully, honestly, and authentically…to all people. Help me stay out of your way. I pray others see you in me. Forgive me when they don’t, and help me do better.
To God be the glory.
Please leave a comment below.
What can Christians do (or stop doing) to genuinely love as Jesus loves?
Can you think of a time when a Christian treated you with respect and loved you unconditionally when others didn’t?
Do you struggle with loving unconditionally, especially a non-believer?
(Thank you for sharing this post.)