It can be uncomfortable hanging out with Christians. I might feel like having a beer, but I don’t know if they’ll accept that. Sometimes I’m not even sure if my thoughts will be acceptable to them, much less my frustrations. I might literally say to myself, “Is it okay to have this thought, or to be frustrated in this area around these people?”
My non-Christian friends do not judge me. They don’t really care if I have a beer or not. They don’t judge me for my thoughts, or for my frustrations. If I’m feeling frustrated about something and I talk about it, they really don’t care. They just accept it. They’ll just tell me, “I know what you mean. I’ve been frustrated that way too.” Their attitude is, “Yeah. You’re normal. Just like everybody else.”
Now that I have this lesson of the copper pipe under my belt, I can sympathize with people in my life who are struggling with something. Finding Jesus or not finding Jesus, we’re all still copper pipes. So a guy can come to me in struggle and in pain, and he can confide in me without fear of judgment. He can say, “Hey Jeremy, I’m struggling with something right now, and I want to tell my wife, but I’m afraid because I feel like a bad person.” I really feel comfortable with this. I can say, “Yeah, I understand. I could probably go there too. And if I made the choices you made, I would be in the exact same spot.”
I don’t have to fear becoming like him in his sin. I have Jesus! I have access to that hot water. That’s always going to be in me. There’s always going to be more grace than sin. And if I live by the Spirit, then I will act by the Spirit. So I can also say to that guy, “Let’s figure out a way where we can help each other. I don’t want you to feel condemned around me. I want to love on you, man. I want to help you.”
I look at everybody, believers and non-believers, the same. We all sin. We all struggle. We all feel pain. I want to understand people’s pain. I want to understand their struggles. I want to be able to say, “You know what? I’ve been there, or I could easily go there.” And I want to help. How many more people would feel comfortable around followers of Jesus if they were treated that way?
The night before Jesus was arrested, He celebrated Passover with the apostles, and then He washed their feet, telling them,
You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. John 13:13-15
Do not judge. Jesus is our judge, and yet He came as a servant king. When He knew His time with His beloved followers was ending, He did a job reserved for the lowest servant of the house. Why did He do it? He lowered himself to show humility. He told us, “I have given you an example. Do as I have done.” He showed us that the last shall be first and the first shall be last.
Whoever loses his life will find it! Happy Easter!