Relating to Outsiders

“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:5-6).

Most believers will be called to serve God for an entire lifetime, while others God calls home early. For those of us called to stay a while, we must learn to properly relate to “outsiders” in general. (The term “outsiders” refers to those outside the Christian faith.) How do we relate to them and approach life in this world? Here are two points to consider:

1. Always think “witness.”
Our actions speak to an on-looking world one way or the other. Either our actions point to Christ, or they do not. In all of our interactions with the world, we must think “witness.” What impact will our words and actions have on those who view our life? Do we represent Christ well, or do we not? Remember, we represent Christ as His ambassadors:

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).

Ambassadors do not represent themselves; they represent the one who sent them. We have been sent by Christ into this world to testify of and to Him:

“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you’ ” (John 20:21).

2. Always think “cooperation.”
As much as we can, we should cooperate with the unbelieving world in things that relate to us both. We should co-exist peacefully with them and not make unnecessary waves:

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18).

You should have a good reason not to join a neighborhood watch, for example. We should observe and obey local ordinances, and not make a fuss just because we’re Christians. For the most part, we are not at war with “outsiders,” because we are trying to reach them for Christ. Why draw unnecessary attention to ourselves and distract others from our real message.

Of course, we cannot follow unbiblical behavior and at that point must refuse to participate. But part of our witness to Christ is to get along with others, including those not part of the Christian faith. Pray for wisdom as to how to relate to the outside world, and be confident that God will provide it (James 1:5).

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