Friends with Unbelievers
Friendships can be difficult—friendships can be doubly difficult when they are with unbelievers. There is a reason for that. Paul says it best this way: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-16a
It’s hard to be friends with unbelievers because when we come to Christ, He changes us. We are no longer of the world or like the world. When we try to have friendships with unbelievers, they are limited and somewhat frustrating because our world view is not the same; we see things through the lens of Christ, and this can potentially create friction in friendships with unbelievers.
In chapter 7, Paul comforts with this gentle admonition on the matter: “Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1 His encouragement is to move forward in purity and holiness. But he also warns of a contamination, a corruption. Note: This would include a friendship with an unbeliever. If the friendship is bringing this kind of result (a contaminating or corruption of your faith), then it may mean that the friendship might not be possible anymore.
Does this mean that we are not to interact with unbelievers or ever spend time with them or invest in their lives? No, just the opposite…but we must be careful. Paul makes it clear that, “…we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.” 2 Corinthians 5:16 Our view of unbelievers must be different. We must view them not like we used to—through our flesh…as if we are one of them, nor are we to look down upon them, but we are to view them as Christ would.
Not only must we see them differently—with love and compassion and with the mind of Christ, but our actions toward them must be different, too: “Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” 1 Peter 2:11,12 Our lives must be a living testimony of Christ and His transforming Love and we cannot participate any longer in the things that unbelievers do.
Today, if you are surrounded by unbelievers—friends or otherwise, remember…you are different; your life is different. You are not the same person you once were. You have been changed. Instead, be on mission and pray for the unbelievers around you so that they too may know the transforming power and love of Christ.
FBC Aztec Member