Most leaders have a decent handle on loving the “one anothers” in their lives—Christian family members, friends, and co-laborers in ministry. The “one anothers” in Scripture are typically applied to fellow believers. But they can also be applied to people in general—in keeping with Jesus’ admonition to love our neighbor as ourselves.

A coworker and I were discussing the level of care that’s commonly given within the body of Christ. When a fellow believer has a long-term illness, they receive anything from prayer to cards to chicken soup. When a believer is moving, word spreads and a dozen people show up on the designated Saturday. When a Christian mom has a baby, home-made meals appear at her front door for weeks.

All of this is right and good, but when you think about it – even in the midst of our fiery trials, we’re well-set as believers. We have a relationship with our heavenly Father, we know our purpose in life, we have brothers and sisters in Christ to journey with, and we know where we’ll spend eternity.

Contrast that to unbelievers who are spiritual orphans—wandering aimlessly or furiously climbing a career ladder. Languishing or partying with other orphans. Having no concern or no comfort regarding life after death.

As you read the “one anothers” in Scripture, see if you can extend them to an unbeliever. Here are a few examples:

5 Ways to Treat an Unbeliever as a “One Another”

  • Be kind and tenderhearted (Eph. 4:32). How do you typically show kindness to fellow believers? Do you hang out over coffee? Do you shoot hoops? Whatever it is, pray about ways to share that experience with someone who doesn’t yet know Jesus.
  • Offer hospitality (1 Pet. 4:9). Think about the time and effort that goes into family gatherings and holiday meals. Or even your Home Group get-togethers. Pray for an opportunity to invite nonbelievers into your home.
  • Teach one another (Col. 3:16). We frequently share Scripture with fellow believers, wanting to encourage them with a biblical principle. God’s truth is applicable to every person’s life, and it doesn’t return void. Look for ways to winsomely share it with unbelievers.
  • Greet one another (1 Pet. 5:14). Depending on your church’s culture, greetings may include bear hugs, hearty handshakes, loving eye contact, and an exchange of encouraging words. When you cross paths with nonbelievers, make an extra effort to greet them sincerely and look them warmly in the eyes.
  • Accept one another (Rom. 15:7). This is tough, even with fellow believers. It’s a good thing Paul adds on, “just as Christ accepted you.” People aren’t necessarily easy to accept, but we’re exhorted to welcome them and take a personal interest in them. Look for ways to honor and interact with the unbelievers in your life.

God uses leaders as game changers. If your social circle resembles a holy huddle, stick your head up, notice the people who aren’t in the game, get to know them, and invite them in. God isn’t willing that any perish, but that all come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9). Let’s join Him in His loving pursuit of others.

“If your social circle resembles a holy huddle, stick your head up, notice the people who aren’t in the game, get to know them, and invite them in.”  

- Lisa Hosler

What are some ways you’ve reached out to nonbelievers in Christian love? Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.

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