You wake up in the morning, scratch your back and stretch. You grab some coffee and then sit down to read the news. The first story that catches your eye includes a photograph of people doing something that makes your blood boil. You grit your teeth and mutter something under your breath and then share the link with your friends on your favorite social media site with some choice comments.
You decide to go shopping. While walking through the local store, you see a group of teenagers. They are brash, loud, and obnoxious. Several of them have multiple tattoos and piercings. The band logos and art on their clothing are offensive to you. They cast a sneering glance at you as you walk by. You can feel your blood pressure rising. You pull out your phone and write a quick tweet about how much you dislike the younger generation.
I could go on, but the point I want to make concerns our attitude as Christians towards the lost people we see every day. This is important to me because I was one of those lost people, and not once did any Christian even attempt to talk with me about the Gospel of Christ. I’ve often wondered why. I grew up near Houston, Texas, deep in the southern part of the United States. It’s often called “the Bible Belt” because there are so many churches and so many Christians. Presumably, I ran across some of them during those years. If so, not one of them spoke a word to me about Jesus. (While in high school, I did encounter an elderly gentleman handing out Gideon's pocket New Testaments to students. He gave me one but didn't speak. I'm thankful that he showed at least that much care because several years later, God used that New Testament to draw me to Christ).
Perhaps the Christians who encountered me during those years reacted the way we regularly react to the lost today. We watch the news and are shocked to see young people who are without Christ and without hope behaving like the sinners they are. Had you encountered me during my teenage years, you likely would have been repulsed at my attitude, my language, my clothing, everything. I went out of my way to try to offend people because I hated myself and everyone else. When I see young people running away from God, acting in the most offensive ways they can imagine, I see my younger self. I see lost people who are in desperate need of Christ.
As Christians, one of our primary tasks is to share the good news with those who desperately need it, and who needs it more than those who are lost. In order to do this our attitudes need to be completely re-shaped and conformed to Christ. Rather than hate that lost person because he or she is doing what any biblically informed Christian should expect a totally depraved sinner to do, namely sin, we should pray for them. Show them the compassion and love of Christ. Tell them that life is not meaningless. Tell them that with Christ, there is light at the end of the tunnel, eternal light. We cannot simply assume that a lost person is a lost cause.
In short, if you see young me on the news, or in your social media feed, or in the store, care enough about my eternal destiny to at least pray for young me. If you have the opportunity, tell young me about Jesus. Young me might laugh in your face, but at least old me won’t wonder why no Christian ever talked to young me about Jesus.