Have you ever noticed how Paul interacted with the people of Athens? He encountered people who did not believe in the God of our salvation. He took advantage of the opportunity to teach them about Yeshua, Christ Jesus.
He didn’t do as many Christians do today, allow his passion to confront them in anger and spiritual arrogance. He didn’t tell them how stupid, silly and foolish they were to believe as they did. He didn’t try to bully them into believing.
Paul reached out to them in respect and love, acknowledging that they sincerely believed in something, and he wanted to present to them the only Living God…
Acts 17:22-30 (NKJV)
Addressing the Areopagus
22 Then Paul stood in the midst of the ]Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; 23 for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription:
TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.
Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: 24 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ 29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. 30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,
Of course there were some who mocked him, but others believed and wanted to hear more.
If Paul had approached them as many do today his message of salvation would not have been received by those who had a heart and mind to do so.
Do you know any spiritual bullies?
Have you ever encountered one?
Are you one?
We can’t force our faith on anyone.
We can’t allow our passion for Christ as an excuse to be self-righteous, spiritual bullies.
We must always reach out to others in love. Rather than convert sinners and those who believe in other ‘gods’ we will turn them off and confirm every negative impression they have of disciples of Christ.
Ask God each day for the anointing to share your faith and the wisdom to reach out in His Spirit of love.