Many Christians pride themselves on the fact that their presence makes “sinners” feel uncomfortable. They take delight in the fact that unbelievers apologize to them when they drop an “F bomb” in their presence, or accidentally speak aloud concerning their drunken weekend escapades. We wear it as a badge of honor when they come to us and say, “Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot, you’re a Christian.”
The truth is, such things should not excite us, but sadden us. You see, the individual who apologizes to us for their actions does not turn away and actually change their ways, they simply hide who they are from us so as to not offend us. Thus, when a “sinner” does not feel comfortable being themselves in our presence, they must pretend and put on a show for us. Essentially, our demand that folks behave themselves when in our presence causes them to isolate themselves from us, thereby limiting the impact that we can actually have upon their lives. For if someone does not feel comfortable being themselves in our presence, then you can be sure that the effect we will have upon them will be very, very limited.
Don’t seek to be the Christian around whom “sinners” feel like worms. Seek to be the Christian that people can swear up a storm around and be brutally honest with! Be a representative of Jesus Christ, in whose presence the unbeliever can unbuckle their heart, and let all of their emotions hang out. Don’t walk with a spiritual smugness that causes the people who need you the most to hide their true selves from you.
The “sinner” should feel overwhelmingly comfortable in your presence. They should not feel condemnation for their actions, or get the feeling of being hurried into changing their lifestyle. They should feel unconditional love and acceptance, with no strings attached.
Such a life will speak volumes more than any red faced preached with a bullhorn can.