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All About GOD - Growing Relationships with Jesus and Others

 I was wondering  what everyone thinks about  befriending non-Christians? I googled it and there were a ton of  Bible verses basically saying no. Wouldn't befriending non-Christians be good though, because they're given a chance to be around someone who has God shining from within? For  example, I was friends with someone who always ate healthy and exercised.  She never pressured me into changing the way I ate, but it still inspired me to change my diet and my outlook on exercise because I saw how great and happy she  looked. Can people be inspired  by your gentle spirit? Your love and joy? Maybe it would inspire them to seek God or at least explore the possibility.

 I had someone recently tell me (on a social networking site) that they never entertained the thought of talking to me because I seemed super religious. He saw me at Walmart so he finally decided to message me, just to point out that he spotted me. Anyway, we talk now and he has told me that  he's glad he did message me, regardless of his  pre-notions  of me, because he really enjoys talking to me. He's non-religious and seems to take God as a joke when we have discussions about religion. I never condemn him for  not believing and I try not to make it seem like I'm offended or bothered that his views are different from mine or that he sometimes challenges me with questions/debates. I feel like he almost expects me (and any other  "religious" person) to eventually lash out at him or  judge and condemn him (perhaps an unconscious challenge on his behalf?) which motivates me to continue responding with a gracious  attitude- which God would want. What do you think?

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I have many atheist friends, I've never seen a problem with it. If they can't respect you for who you are, religious beliefs included, then they're not worth having has friends. Thing is, they probably think the same about you. You've shown a great example where friends can help us, that's what friends do :)

Yeah, they question religious belief, I wouldn't expect anything less. I question their beliefs, it's just having a discussion. We shouldn't just befriend atheists just to evangelize, that's counter productive and comes across as manipulation.

I've said a few times on this subject that my closest friend, next to my fiance, is an atheist (and a woman; so a close friend who's of the opposite sex and an atheist - I also have a friend who's the opposite sex, atheist and gay) and we talk about faith, God and the Bible often. Obviously they don't believe but they'll quite happily sit there and listen to my faith related struggles because that's what friends do. Just as an example, when I became a Christian I was questioning whether I could still be friends with her because she was gay. Not only was she not offended, she put me in contact with another Christian friend of hers to help me work through it. She worked to keep the friendship going.

There's an underlying assumption that atheists are all out to take people from Christ. There are some and I've met them but the majority don't. The majority are more interested in how you treat others and how you treat them. Should we go out of our way to be friends with atheists? Not necessarily though we should be interacting with them (how do you spread the gospel if you don't go where they are and talk to them) but if you find you get on with them, keep seeing them, a friendship will naturally come out of it. If it does, great :)

Just for completeness, the vast majority of my atheist friends were my friends before I became a Christian

what matters is being a good human being, there is nothing wrong to befriend a non christian, provided he/she a good human being...

Ryan -

My brother. There is not one good person, no, not one in the planet. Only God is good. If you mean by "Good" a person of morals and values, well, that just won't cut it either, not before a Holy, Holy, Holy God.

For Him the only thing that counts is our faith in Christ. We must be born again to be righteous before God and that is not a righteousness of our own, but the righteousness of Christ imputed to us.

I think I know what you mean but I am not 100 % sure I do. Christ was and is perfect, He could be around sinners and blessed them without falling into temptation, so we must know our limitations, but having said that, we at times want to make friends with those who are not considered "Good" people in our society to be able to blessed them with the Gospel.

Love and blessings to you .

Kayla

 

In I Corinthians 5:9-10 Paul tells them not to keep company with sexually immoral people. then in verse 10 he says

         " Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexual immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world."

 

    We must be friends with them to help lead them ( by the grace of God alone) to the saving knowledge of the Lord.

I once attended a seminar called "friendship evangelism". They made a very good point tat we need to 'earn ' the right to speak to people. By that they simply meant that if we don't show a legimate concern for their well being they are , more than likely not going to listen to us about our beliefs.

 

Having said that , we must be extremely careful in our relationships with the unsaved as the influencing of others works both ways and we must gaurd against being lead away from the Lord by their influence as well. We must lean completely on the Lord for 'discernment in all of our relationships with others and especially with the unsaved. But we dare not shun them or we will (in my opinion only) be of no use to the Lord in their lives.

 

These things are simply my opinions but I feel are strongly supported by scripture. God bless you in His service.

My answer is yes, but I need to qualify it.  Our liberty to form friendships with unbelievers requires discernment; they must never pose a hindrance to our walk with Christ

  • As Graham (Grazer #E2H) said, true friends, irrespective of their religious beliefs, will treat you with respect and esteem.  They will not disparage or denigrate who you are and the things you hold near and dear, including your faith in Christ.  With unbelievers, I am careful neither to force my beliefs on them nor to hide or minimize my faith.  My faith in Christ, my status as one of God's children, is central to my identity.
    • Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect (1Peter 3:15, NIV).
  • As you stated,  Christians shine the light of Christ in a dark world.  Led by the Holy Spirit, we can be a positive influence on others, especially the unsaved, by modeling Christ in our thoughts and deeds.  The examples we provide can help lead others to a curiosity about, ultimately placing their hope and faith in, Jesus Christ.
  • Charles offers wise counsel.  Just as it is true we can influence others by example, it works both ways. Christians who are new to, or weak in, the faith may find themselves particularly susceptible to the corrupting influence of immoral persons.  Though well-intentioned, in such situations, these "baby" or "lukewarm" Christians are unwittingly putting themselves in a position of great risk of temptation and peril, opening themselves up to "comprising their holiness.
  • I would stay clear of "dating evangelism," the idea being that a Christian should be open to or seek romantic relationships with unbelievers so that we can lead them to Christ.  It is difficult when our emotions are involved to be objective and clear-headed in our thinking.  We may delude ourselves into thinking that this is where God is leading us (because it suits our personal agenda), but in reality we may be duping ourselves by trusting our unreliable and subjective human feelings.  This is why the Bible admonishes us not to be "unequally yoked" with unbelievers.
  • Another reason for forming friendships with unbelievers is that it it helps us fulfill the Lord's Great Commission.  We are entrusted with the responsibility to proclaim and share the Gospel or Good News of Jesus Christ with others.  We cannot do that if we live in a "Christian bubble."
  • Consider, too, the example set by Jesus.  He associated with all kinds of sinners, including prostitutes, with much despised tax collectors, and with outcasts living on the margins of society.  For this, he was subjected to repeated and strong criticism by the religious leaders of his day, the Pharisees.
  • CARM provides sound biblical advice in response to this question: 
    • "So, it is okay for Christians to have non-Christian friends.  But we must be careful not to compromise.  Jesus was, after all, God in flesh (John 1:1Colossians 2:9).  We are not.  We are fallen and sinful, and we need to be careful that we don't use our freedom to have unbelieving friends as a means by which we compromise holiness before God."
  • Should we form close  relationships with unbelievers?  Got Questions cautions us: 
    • "As Christians, we have to constantly face temptations and the attacks of the world around us. Everything we see, read, do, hear, put in our bodies, etc., affects us somehow. ... Although these close relationships are not recommended, it does not mean we turn our noses up and ignore unbelievers, either. ...  having any kind of intimate relationship with an unbeliever can quickly and easily turn into something that is a hindrance to your walk with Christ. We are called to evangelize the lost, not be intimate with them. There is nothing wrong with building quality friendships with unbelievers – but the primary focus of such a relationship should be to win them to Christ by sharing the Gospel with them and demonstrating God’s saving power in our own lives."

I believe that Jesus had many a non Christian friend!!!  To not reach out to anyone is to be morally deficient in my eyes. Even though I struggle with many personal questions in reference to God, I hardy think that he would want us to not reach out to everyone like Jesus did. To not do so would make us hypocrites and moral impostors.

Been working on it for nearly 2 months but finally got it finished. Here's my pretty-much complete answer on it:

http://www.allaboutgod.net/profiles/blogs/the-art-of-friendship

First we must be mature and strong in The Lord, sensitive to The Spirit, and living in obedience to The Father's Will for our live's.  Let us as well define the word, "friend." 

9 I wrote to you in a letter not to associate with sexually immoral people. 10 I did not mean the immoral people of this world or the greedy and swindlers or idolaters; otherwise you would have to leave the world. 11 But now I am writing you not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer who is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or verbally abusive, a drunkard or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person. 12 For what business is it of mine to judge outsiders? Don’t you judge those who are inside? 13 But God judges outsiders. Put away the evil person from among yourselves 1 Cor 5:9-13

So what are we being told? It is their actions we must separate ourselves from, to not as they do. Yet, the danger is there for the younger believer to fall into temptation.
Here we see the real danger to Believers, those who claim one thing yet, live contrary to what they say and do. We can find ourselves being lead astray from The Truth, when we see their actions and believe we can or should do the same. When we look at what they do, and our flesh is tempted we can and many do fall. Yet, I look at Jesus who do He associate with? Still we see for the most part those He touched, they changed.

15 While He was reclining at the table in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were also guests with Jesus and His disciples, because there were many who were following Him. 16 When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they asked His disciples, “Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners? ” 17 When Jesus heard this, He told them, “Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do need one. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:15-17
2 There was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3 He was trying to see who Jesus was, but he was not able because of the crowd, since he was a short man. 4 So running ahead, he climbed up a sycamore tree to see Jesus, since He was about to pass that way. 5 When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down because today I must stay at your house.” 6 So he quickly came down and welcomed Him joyfully. 7 All who saw it began to complain,a “He’s gone to lodge with a sinful man! ” 8 But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, I’ll give half of my possessions to the poor, Lord! And if I have extorted anything from anyone, I’ll pay back four times as much! ” 9 “Today salvation has come to this house,” Jesus told him, “because he too is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:2-9
What are the lessons here? in both cases The Presence of The Lord changed these people. If Jesus had passed by these people, and done nothing, what would have happened? Of course, these were the plan of The Father all along. As with Zacchaeus people were affected from the beginning. With Matthew we are given a view about Jesus that only He was anointed to do so.

I think its ok to befriend a non-Christian you just have to keep yourself grounded as a Christian and if they are doing things that are pushing toward sinning you need to separate yourself from that. For example speaking from how I feel personally I would rather befriend people that are reaching toward the lord because I know how easy temptation comes around and I simply don't want to be around it because im still in the stage of growing myself.  I do have friends that are non Christians though I just don't spend as much time with them as I used to, the love is still there but I just feel I need to be closer to Jesus.  Being a good example of how God is good and how he helps us to make our lives better is a good thing for those to see because like you said one day they could be inspired by that.

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