Shake Off the Dust Under Your Feet

Most recently, while I was checking my Facebook account, I noticed that Facebook had been sending friend requests on my behalf, and people were accepting them. I wouldn’t necessarily get upset over this because it has happened before, but this time I became annoyed because the request went out to people that I would least likely send out requests to.

In my moment of annoyance, I made a comment on my wall about Facebook to see if others had a similar problem. This sparked over fifty comments to my post that had very little to do with my problem. Later I found out that someone may have hacked my account and was playing a joke on me, a very mean joke.

However, what began with my slight annoyance at Facebook ended in arguments about befriending and not befriending unbelievers. The exchange between a few individuals set off a chain of comments that troubled me and inspired me to write this hub.

I was a bit shocked at the mentality of a few, and at how they perceived and misunderstood the teachings of our Lord Jesus. Some refused to accept unbelievers and only befriended Christians while others were very open about accepting anyone without any discernment.

I’ll begin by asking, as Christians are we to befriend unbelievers, people of other religions, people that practice paganism and everything else in between?

Some will tell you, you do not have to befriend anyone if you don’t want to. True, you do have that option. However, what does the Bible say about befriending anyone that does not share our beliefs? We will get to that in a moment.

I feel much of it depends on whom you are representing. Are you representing yourself or are you representing Christ? If you are representing yourself, your answer may be influenced by worldly views, but if you are representing Christ, as Christ’s ambassador, you should stand strong for Christ and not compromise His Word. You must decide whom you want to represent.

Unequally Yoked (Deu 22:10)
Unequally Yoked (Deu 22:10)

Now, when forming relationships with others that do not share in our beliefs, Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (NIV),

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:

"I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."

Therefore

"come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."

Why did Paul say this? Paul was trying to warn the believers against the dangers of forming any sort of close relationship with idolaters that would compromise their Christian standards. Paul quoted from the Old Testament to remind them of God’s promise.

For centuries, the Israelites closely associated with pagans, intermarried, and worshipped other gods just as the pagans. In time, they turned completely away from God. God implored them repeatedly to come out from the world and separate themselves from those who opposed and denied Him, to walk in obedience, and in return, He promised to receive them as His children and bless them. Yet, people continued in their rebellion.

We are still seeing this rebellion against God today. In our society, we are being taught to be tolerant of others even if it means going against God’s Word. Anything that hints at being intolerant sends many people off into a rant with name-calling and insults. When Christians, those that live by the Word, try to refute and rebuke sin, they are ostracized and labeled with insulting names, sadly even by those who claim to be Christians.

Unfortunately, many Christians have fallen into the same frame of mind of today’s society, just as the ancient Jews did in their time. Many have come to preach that Jesus “hanged out” with sinners and tax collectors to support their argument and as an excuse to do things they shouldn’t do. Personally, when I refer to Jesus and sinners, I do not like to use the term “hanged out;” I find it to be very disrespectful and an inappropriate word to use.

To hear that Jesus “hanged out,” it says to me that Jesus sinned like the rest by getting drunk, using profanity, fighting, lying, cheating, and misbehaving as one of the boys in the crowd. That is very far from what Jesus did. Jesus did not sin. There was no sin in His thoughts, His heart, His words or His actions. What He did do is, accept the impure, the unclean, and the outcasts with love. He forgave their sins, and healed them.

In fact, first century Jews did not “hang out” with people that were considered unclean as it was socially unacceptable to sit and dine with people that were impure or they risked becoming impure themselves. Jesus was different. He did not shun sinners or kept only to the righteous and the religious as the Pharisees, Seduces, and teachers of the Law. He lived and walked among sinners to preach about repentance and how the Kingdom of God was at hand (Mat 4:17).

Therefore, yes, He dined and sat with sinners and tax collectors, but He did so because He had a purpose. He did not become their hangout pal and used His authority as an excuse to party, do the wrong things, and be accepted in a crowd. When He got together with sinners, He did so because He had to gather His twelve disciples. He had to teach the Word, teach about repentance and forgiveness of sins, and tell them about the Kingdom of God. He performed many miracles, and He did all this to save the lost.

A very good example of why Jesus’ was commonly found among sinners is found in Luke 5:27-31, right after Jesus healed a paralyzed man.

After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him. Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”” NIV

Who where these sinners Jesus dined with and talked to? Where the sinners the law breakers, tax collectors, drunkards, killers, rapists, thieves, adulterers, prostitutes, liars, idolaters, and all the outcasts? No, the sinners were not just these. The sinners He associated with were everyone because they were all sinners.

However, many denied and rejected Him then as they do now. When Jesus sent His disciples out to other towns to spread the Good News, many rejected and persecuted the apostles. Therefore, what did Jesus tell His twelve disciples to do when people refused to receive them or listen?

“And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.” (Mark 6:11) KJV

In answer to the question, what does the Bible say about befriending anyone that does not share your beliefs?

The Bible is clear when it says we are not to be unequally yoked with (unrepentant) sinners. However, it does not mean we cannot associate with others. That would be unrealistic. As Christians, we are to follow Jesus’ example. We must give others the opportunity to come to know Him so they may come to repentance. If we do not allow them the opportunity, how else are we to share Christ with them? This does not mean you have to accept their ways, get chummy with them, act and behave sinfully. We are not to judge others, but neither are we to accept and agree with their sins in fear of losing them to Christ, or in fear of what they may think of us. Jesus was very bold in rebuking sin. Sin is sin and there is no sugarcoating it.

As an overseer of God’s household, the Bible says “… he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” (Titus 1:7-9) NIV

We are also to rebuke those that do not live in accordance with God’s Word and reject truth (Titus 1:10-16). However, we must be careful how we approach others that do not share in our faith. I remember a time before I turned myself around and came to Christ, my sister, may God bless her, who had been praying for my salvation for years, would overwhelm me with Scriptures. My birthday cards, Christmas cards, letters, and phone conversations were full of scriptures and talk about Jesus until one day I snapped at her, and hurt her feelings.

Back then, I believed in God (in my own way) but the constant talk of Jesus annoyed me, and I saw it as hypocritical coming from others when their own lives were a mess. Since then, I’ve asked her for forgiveness. I came to understand the love she has for our Lord Jesus Christ, but I also explained to her how she made me feel at that time with her constant pushing. In time, I also came to experience the same hurt she felt back then, when I dealt with others that did not share in my beliefs.

We should not overwhelm others to the point of annoyance, even if we are doing it for the Kingdom of God or we will turn people off to God. Instead, find unique ways to approach unbelievers and teach them about God. In addition, we must not act as if we are better than they are because we are not. We are also sinners. The difference between believers and unbelievers is repentance. However, we’ve come to realize we are sinners, and in our repentance, we are forgiven. The blessings that follow our repentance, is found in the Bible.

Jesus reached out and taught sinners in a unique way. He taught using parables. He also spoke in a language people of that time needed to hear and understand. He spoke the language of His heart— love. When people heard Jesus preach, they were mesmerized because it was so unlike any of the teachings they received from the Pharisees and teachers of the Law. Imagine the rigid teachings of the Law, the constant accusations from the “righteous,” and their transparent hypocrisy. Out of their mouths came one thing but out of their hearts came hate and condemnation, but worse of all, they did not love God.

We are to be an example of Christ. If after you shared our Lord with others they remain unrepentant and continue in their sin, then shake off the dust under your feet and walk away. You can rebuke those who refuse sound doctrine, but don’t criticize or continually try to push people to see the error of their ways, or they may just point out yours. Leave chastisement and conviction to God. Instead, continue to pray for those who rejected Jesus to come to repentance, and to accept Him as Lord of their lives. In time, some will turn around. If they don’t, remember what Jesus said would happen in Mark 6:11.


THANK YOU FOR STOPPING BY. IF YOU LIKE THIS HUB, PLEASE DON'T FORGET TO VOTE.

©Faithful Daughter

All rights reserved. Any redistribution, reproduction, republishing, rebroadcasting or rewriting of part or all of the contents in any form or manner is prohibited without the express written consent of the author and owner, Faithful Daughter.
All rights reserved. Any redistribution, reproduction, republishing, rebroadcasting or rewriting of part or all of the contents in any form or manner is prohibited without the express written consent of the author and owner, Faithful Daughter. | Source

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Comments 16 comments

lifegate profile image

lifegate 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

FD,

Very well said. I like this line, "The Bible is clear when it says we are not to be unequally yoked with (unrepentant) sinners. However, it does not mean we cannot associate with others. That would be unrealistic. Voted up and interesting.


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 5 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

Lifegate,

Thanks for being the first to read and comment, and for the votes. Have a blessed day in Christ.


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 5 years ago from Southern Minnesota

Good questions and interesting answers. I generally don't deny any friend request on facebook unless they are completely obnoxious and offensive. who knows if what I share might be useful to them. I don't consider facebooking hanging out with people. I don't use the chat feature at all. Not all of my friends are Christian on fb and some do not hold the same values as I but for sure they all know my views and my spiritual perspective is unchanged by those who value otherwise. I do see however bellying up to the bar in the name of hanging out with the unbelieving and participating in ungodly behaviors and lifestyles can be a deceptive excuse to live in and be tempted to participate in sin. I agree that we find ourselves in trouble when we become more influenced than being influential.

I think the whole fb thing is hyper sensitive to the issues of rejection. I have experienced it myself when being deleted by someone for reasons they only know and part of that has to do with each ones personal purpose for the account for instance my mother deletes people she hasn't talked to in a month others just want family. Our pastor at one time just wanted long distance people on his.

your article is thought provoking and I will be examining my own intents and paeticipations in light of the points you presented


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 5 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

Hi Tamarajo,

People can be fickle, who knows what motivates them. In terms of religion, I feel many just add or delete to what they want to believe in and make their own religion as they go along rather than follow the teachings of Jesus.

Facebook is an interesting place to meet people of all races, backgrounds, and religions; however, anyone who wants to befriend me there, knows from the start I am a child of God and they will see me post many things about God. If they are offended by it, the have the option to not read what I post or delete me.

God does not change and neither does His Word; therefore, I remain constant in what He has taught me and I will not compromise my beliefs to make others happy.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

Hi there Faithful Daughter. That was something about FB with you. One time I had to close my FB out and at the end it said my account had been hacked. WHY! couldn't FB let me know that before! You have a strong belief and there is no artifice or hypocrisy in you about it. I don't go in for organized religion because of far too many things I've seen behind the scenes. That doesn't mean of course all are rotten. Someone like you in your faith Faithful helps some to make up for the evil ones posing for personal gain only.


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 5 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

Hi Alastar,

There are times I want to close my FB account mainly because of things like this. I guess people don't have better things to do with their time than hack into people's accounts and cause problems for them.

My relationship with God has no denomination. I have stopped attending church for a while now, not because of what I've seen in others or because of the hurt many have caused me, although that in itself was enough reason, but because many of today's churches are not about God. They are about money, entertainment, and things that have nothing to do with God. The teachings of Jesus are watered down or twisted and not well-intentioned.

Once I came out of the man-made churches and really learned what Jesus is about, my faith increased and all my disappointments went out with all the erroneous teaching I had received.

Thank you for stopping to read and comment.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

"Therefore, yes, He dined and sat with sinners and tax collectors, but He did so because He had a purpose. He did not become their hangout pal" Exactly!

So many people do not understand that Jesus did not seek out these people, but did not avoid them either. He went where He was needed to fulfill His purpose.

I like your Hub, Faithful Daughter.


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 5 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

Amen Hyphenbird!

There are many that want to make Jesus out to be something He was not, so they can continue doing the things they're not supposed to be doing.

Thanks for visiting and your supporting comment.


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 5 years ago from Roseville, CA

Hi Faithful Daughter, I see a few things happened to the glory of God in this whole situation. Jesus' message is that those who are yoked with Him are His 'friends', and John 15:13 states that there is no greater love [agape] than when One lays down His life for His friends. Truly, Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, but only those yoked in Him by faith are His friends. Those who reject Him are His enemies and His sacrifice becomes null and void (Gal 2:21). So, while we are to minister His love [agape] to the 'world', we are not to become 'friends' [phileo] with the 'world'. James 4:4 is clear: "You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God."

For whatever reason your erroneous friend request was accepted by those who oppose Christ, they certainly got some uninvited 'Light' shined upon them. This causes conviction [guilt], so the Lord is indeed glorified in it. You also wrote this hub about this topic, and again, God is glorified.

When people request to be my friend, I accept them because they can choose to stay or choose to go; just as we can choose God's Light or choose to reject it.

We are not called to become the spectacle of hate, however. Satan's team will not let up, if they have the chance to 'render' a child of God. For this reason, we are told not to cast our pearls before swine. There are those who will not appreciate anything we have to say, and God said we would be HATED (not just disliked) on account of His Name. He was hated by the 'world' and that hatred separates them from God, now and forever. They don't understand and they are blinded by the 'god of this world', their 'father'. We know this; we love them enough to tell them the Truth, whether it angers them and we are hated because of it, or not. That's what agape is. That's the love Jesus had for the 'world', too.

Press on, sister. He is with you and is glorified in all things.


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 5 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

Hi JD,

Thank you for stopping by and your comment. When I was led by the Holy Spirit to write this message, there were many verses that came to mind, but it was going to send me in other directions that were better left for other hub topics.

You are correct in the biblical definition of who are the friends of God. It is not the world's definition of "friend" though and that's where many, in the body of Christ, make the mistake because there’s no Word knowledge and understanding or discernment being used.

I like when you said, "There are those who will not appreciate anything we have to say," this is very true but as you already know, it is not about us, is it? As you pointed out, there is glory for God even in the erroneous acceptance of a friend request I did not send. I firmly believe that nothing happens by chance. God is always in control.

God bless!


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

A good hub filled with good intentions. I have a few testimonies that involve me being "shot down" for my beliefs and I dropped the subject and remained as a friend, setting the example and after 10 years 2 were recently baptized into Christ. I'm not claiming it was my actions, as it was the work of the Holy Spirit after they were informed of the gift. Both were decent but not saved men and had their own ideas of right and wrong. Both had troubled times and received advise that their yoke could become light and their burden easy, time and again. When or how, even why they had the change of heart I have no idea, I'm just happy for them both that now we can speak in fellowship as well as the how to of wilderness survival, Peace dusty


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 5 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

50 Caliber,

Awesome testimony! The seed you planted in your friends were watered by circumstances and other things God placed in their lives. There is more that one way to witness to others. People don't want to be preached to, they want to see the evidence, and YOU were the evidence of Christ that lives in you.

I've also been shot down for my faith, only to see a few come back to me for prayer and spiritual guidance in the end. Therefore, our efforts are not all in vain. Continue in your path because God is using you.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing. God bless!


wba108@yahoo.com profile image

wba108@yahoo.com 5 years ago from upstate, NY

Faithful Daughter- Thank you for sharing these powerful truths in your well written Hub! Absolutely were to be in the world but not of it! Bad company currupts good character!Althought, I belief that you can maintain a certain level of friendship with a worldly person provided your influencing them and not the other way around! Blessings-WBA


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 5 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

Wba108,

Thank you for your gracious visit and comment. Realistically, it is difficult to not associate with people that do not share in our beliefs. We can develop a certain (distant) level of "friendship" as you mentioned, but as to "hanging out" with them, we have to question our purpose for that.

When we do associate with those who do not share in our beliefs, we have to be very careful or one can easily fall back into old behavior patterns that would eventually distant us from God. As you said, as long as "you’re influencing them and not the other way around," and stay on guard, such association is sometimes unavoidable.

There is nothing wrong with sharing the love of Christ with others. If you are truly a child of God, you cannot help loving them BUT without compromising your beliefs.

May the Lord bless you!


2besure profile image

2besure 5 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

Totally understand. I used to approve of a friend, only to find some vulgar language posted. I have unfriended people like that too.


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 5 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

2besure,

Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I always say, we have to use discernment when befriending people. God bless!

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