Being a Light to Non-Believers in Your Community
Almost 10 years ago, when I was a young, spoiled, naive girl living in California far away from my family, I had a rough time learning how to be an adult and face the cruelty of this cold self-centered world.
Family relationships were messy and heartbreaking. I had hardly any friends I truly connected with. I was lonely; I was hurt.
I wasn't a believer then but God put in my life, even for just a very short period of time, a light that touched my heart and comforted me.
I met this lady through school who needed to talk with someone from a different culture for a class project. So for weeks we would meet up at a local diner and talked.
She listened to me talk about life in an oriental culture; she even took me to a church event she was going to.
One day, bearing the weight of everything going on, I broke down and she wrapped her arms around me, letting me cry into her shoulders.
Not long after, I moved to Iowa to continue my college education and we lost contact.
But to this day I still remember how she was a light to me at just the right moment.
Knowing Jesus now, I give thanks to God for putting her in my life.
I'm telling you this story to give you a first-person account of the impact this lady did to me, a non-believer then.
I want to encourage you that there is nothing so little that God can't use to shine a light on others.
When we enter the Kingdom through Jesus Christ, we are given a new identity in Christ.
We are forgiven; our hope is in Him; and we are set apart.
We are now the salt and the light of the world.
Christ's light shines through us. We are the messengers between Christ and non-believers.
In Matthew 5:16, we are given a great task - to let our light shine before others so that they may see God in us and give glory to Him.
We're not meant to hide our light and keep it a secret. Instead, we are called to magnify it as much as possible so that more will come to the Kingdom because of it.
No matter where you are located, you can be the light to the non-believers in your community. You can make an impact for the Kingdom.
Ways to Connect with Non-Believers
Before you can be the light, perhaps you need to first be friends with someone who doesn't believe.
Often times in the Christian bubble, we hardly know anyone who doesn't believe.
But I assure you opportunities are there if you're looking.
Volunteer - Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and you'll probably meet someone who doesn't believe in the Bible. Places to volunteer: local hospitals, food banks, shelters, Ronald McDonald House, libraries, local events.
The moms of your kids' BFFs - Some of the moms might not be Christians. Invite them over for a play date. Ask them questions. Show that you want to be more intentional about the friendship instead of just being acquaintances.
Get to Know Your Neighbors - Chances are most of your neighbors aren't believers. Create opportunities to talk to your neighbors. Invite them over for a meal or a play date if you have kids close in age.
Coworkers - Have you realized how much time you spend with your coworkers? Maybe you don't work, but what about your husband? If you (or your husband) have a typical job, it means that you spend at least 40 hours at week with your coworkers. That's a lot of opportunities to get to know them.
Ways to Be the Light to Non-Believers
Listen to Their Stories - People love telling their stories. In this fast-moving digital era, we don't always stop and get passed "how are you doing?". As Christ's followers, we can be a light through learning about their stories. By taking the time to listen, we show that we care.
Ask Good Questions - Going along the lines of listening to people's stories, asking good questions is another way to show that we care and we want to get to know them.
Be a Giver - A generous heart is like a light in darkness; it warms up those nearby. You don't have to be rich to give. You can be a giver of your time or resources you already have. Perhaps your neighbors could use a date night, can you give a couple hours of your time watching their kids so they can enjoy some alone time without distractions? Or maybe your coworker is moving soon and they could use help packing or loading up the moving truck. The bottom line is: how can you be a blessing to those around you with what God has blessed you?
Zip Your Mouth - It is always easier to spot the sins in others' lives and we need to be careful of when we bring the sins into light. There's a time to speak and a time to keep our mouths shut. Plus, if we're not watchful, words can come off as judgmental which will not soften any non-believers' hearts. If you're unsure of when/what to speak, stay silent. Go to God first and discern whether or not you should bring the matter into light with grace and truth. Never be hasty with your words.
Extend Grace & Forgiveness - We are in the Kingdom of God because we were extended grace and forgiveness. When God forgives us, He also forgives the person we're angry at. It would be prideful of us to withhold what was freely given to us all. Ask God who are the people in your life (especially the non-believers) that you need to forgive and be gracious to? Also ask for discernment on how the conversation should take place.
Do you have stories of how God used you to be a light? Please share in the comments because I'd love to hear about them!!