I’ve never understood why, but some Christians treat all non-believers like they’re sinners and will therefore go to hell. Well here are a few words of enlightenment: be wise in the way you act towards those who are not believers, making good use of every opportunity you have. Your speech should always be pleasant and interesting and you should know how to give the right answer to everyone (Colossians 4: 5-6).
Sometimes I come across Christians who say they are saved, but the things they do/say leave me with so many doubts about their salvation. In many of my posts, I’ve talked about the issue of judging others; acting all self-righteous and all. What makes me question someone’s idea of salvation is not because I feel I’m a better Christian, but because I wonder, if I wasn’t really a believer already, how many of the Christians I’ve met would convince me to give my life to Christ?
From what I have gathered over time, everyone has a justified reason as to why they do/don’t profess a certain faith. If someone is a non-believer, does that mean they will automatically be damned to hell on judgement day? Not really. In any case Jesus believed that some pagans are better than those who call themselves believers.
Some of us feel like they are warranted to condemn others because they are believers and in their eyes, those who don’t believe in God are sinners. According to many Bible verses, God hates self-righteousness. In Luke 18: 9-14, Jesus told a parable to people who were sure of their own goodness and despised everybody else:
“Once there were two men who went up to the temple to pray: one was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood apart by himself and prayed, ‘I thank you God, that I am not greedy, dishonest, or an adulterer, like everybody else. I thank you that I am not like the tax collector over there. I fast two days a week and give you a tenth of all my income.’
But the tax collector stood at a distance and would not even raise his head to heaven, but beat on his breast and said, ‘God, have pity on me, a sinner!’
I tell you,” said Jesus, “the tax collector, and not the Pharisee, was in the right with God when he went home. For everyone who makes himself great will be humbled, and everyone who humbles himself will be made great.”
So when a believer shouts, “You will go to hell!” to a non-believer, what does one suppose God thinks of that believer? It is not our place to condemn. Only an ignorant person would assume that all those who don’t believe in God will be damned.
In his letter to the Colossians 2: 16-19, Paul says, “So let no one make rules about what you eat or drink or about holy days or the New Moon festival or the Sabbath. All such things are only a shadow of things in the future; the reality is Christ. Do not allow yourselves to be condemned by anyone who claims to be superior because of special visions and who insists on false humility and the worship of angels.
For no reason at all, such a person is all puffed up by his human way of thinking and has stopped holding on to Christ, who is the head of the body.”
Identifying ourselves as Christians, makes us believe we know exactly what’s wrong; who is right or not, but the truth is, only God knows who is guilty/innocent. If a believer assumes that a neighbour who doesn’t go to church has already booked a ticket to hell, then one ought to know that those we condemn might actually be the ones who are actually right in the eyes of God.
In Proverbs 16: 2, King Solomon says, “You may think everything you do is right, but the Lord judges your motives.” So it really doesn’t matter if one spends all their time in church praying, fasting and tithing religiously every month.
Jesus condemns hypocrisy. In Matthew 23: 23-27, He says, “How terrible of you teachers of the law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You give to God one tenth even of the seasoning herbs, such as mint, dill, and cumin, but you neglect to obey the really important teachings of the law, such as justice and mercy and honesty.
These you should practice without neglecting the others. Blind guides! You strain a fly out of your drink, but swallow a camel! How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You clean the outside of your cup and plate, while the inside is full of what you have gotten by violence and selfishness. Blind Pharisees!
Clean what is inside the cup first, and then the outside will be clean too! How terrible for you, teachers of law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look fine on the outside but are full of bones and decaying corpses on the inside. In the same way, on the outside you appear good to everybody, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and sins.”
In very simple words, Jesus is the holiest man, who has ever walked this earth, yet He didn’t go around castigating those who didn’t believe in Him/His Father. He loved everyone, without discriminating and used the best examples to inspire love for His Father and not fear in people’s hearts. So if He didn’t despise, why should we?
If Jesus popped in on a conversation between you-a Christian-and a non-believer, would He be proud of you, or would He unleash the ‘hypocrite!’ admonishment on you? If you were a non-believer, would a Christian doing the things you do, both in public and in private, convince you to join the faith?