A man walks into an emergency room with a 2X4 sticking out of his chest. He is made comfortable for an hour in the waiting room and then sent home hopefully thinking that the nurses were really nice? Would you consider that a good hospital? No, if anyone there cared about saving people’s lives then someone would have yelled, “Over here! Sir, you are impaled with a giant plank of lumber and you are going to die if you don’t come with us and let us get it out!”
If lost and unrepentant people feel “comfortable” in your church then you are probably doing church wrong. They should be offended, convicted, provoked, challenged, saddened, humbled, impressed, called to repentance, and hopefully over joyed with the good news of Jesus Christ! -basically anything but comfortable. We cannot lovingly allow complacency in the desperate. If we love the lost we should value them enough to tell it like it is. We have no right to value their opinion of us above their well being. We are obliged to be honest with them and tell them the Truth even if it is offensive.
Lets take that a bit further. Remember that church itself is not even for the lost but was established by God for the saints. The call to share the Gospel, and to tell the unabashed truth and make disciples is a personal one. So, if lost and unrepentant people feel comfortable in our presence then we are doing Christianity wrong (2Cor6:14). We are called to judge people the way we want to be judged (Mt7:1-3) without hypocrisy. Do we want to be judged images of God, precious, worth the truth, worth saving, worth rescuing, worth anything? We are to treat others the way we want to be treated not in a temporal sense but with an eternal perspective (Jn7:24). We are commanded to love the way Jesus loved (Jn13:34). Jesus never let politeness stand in the way of loving people enough to tell them the truth of eternal life (Jn4).
Call me judgemental, call me self righteous, sanctimonious, call me all the names you want but I pray I always love you enough to tell you the truth, with grace and kindness of course but truth even above that. I hope you love me enough to do the same for me lest I become a hypocrite and disqualify my testimony (1Cor9:27).
We are told to be friendly (1Cor9:22) but not to be friends with the world (1Jn2:15, Jm4:4) and to expect hate from the world (1Jn3:13). If you have friends who are unsaved and unrepentant then you are probably not being a very good friend to them (Eph5:11). Can you be friends with someone who is constantly reminding you by their word AND action that you are eternally separated from God (going to hell)?
A Kind of Exception
Children are the exception to the rule, kind of. We should not temper the truth but we should also not intentional scare them to death with stories of hell. It is perfectly appropriate to be an authority around children who have not come to a saving relationship with Jesus yet. Jesus has made special allowance for them and said we should be like children in our faith. That doesn’t mean it should be immature but simple and trusting. “Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray:and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me:for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.” -Mt 19:13-15
Love, Love, Love,
Nothing gives us an excuse to be rude for rudeness sake. Jesus was way more concerned with truth than manners. He did not sin but he was constantly in trouble for being inappropriate to the worlds eyes. We should be honest and more concerned with proclaiming the Truth than being offensive to the world. That’s how Jesus defined love (Jn18:37).
There are two main outward expressions of love to the unsaved world. The first is practical: to to feed the hungry and take care of the sick and defend the weak and visit the persecuted and abandoned. In fact doing these things is called true religion (Jm1:27). The second outward expression of love to a lost world is evangelism: sharing the Gospel, telling the truth (Jn3:5).
Almost all the passages about loving each other are directed at Christians loving other Christians (1Jn4:7-8, Jn13:34, 1Pt4:8, Col3:12, Heb13:1, 1Cor16:14, 1Thes3:12, Jn15:13, 1Jn4:20, Phil2:3-4). Jesus even goes so far as to say that this is how the world will know that we are Christians, “if ye have love one to another.” (Jn13:35). Some say with a virtuous admiring tone “Oh, he has such a heart for the lost.” Well that is great! But does he love his brother? For it is by that love that he will be recognizable as a Christian.
“If Christianity was something we were making up, of course we could make it easier. But it isn’t. We can’t compete, in simplicity, with people who are inventing religions. How could we? We’re dealing with Fact. Of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother about!”- C.S. Lewis