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Let’s be honest: There are some people that we Christians avoid because they make us uncomfortable. You know and they know. We know they are lost, but instead of being more compassionate we are more arrogant. We label them as “wrong,” or “sinners,” instead of “loved by God.” Remember that God loves the WORLD. Remember we were once just like the people we have decided to dislike (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

Remember that Jesus Himself was a “friend of sinners.” This title was given to Him in a derogatory manner through the complaints of religious leaders, but Jesus knew what He was doing within God’s will (Matthew 9:10-13, 11:19; Luke 7:34, 15:1-4). Notice how in Jesus’ ministry He wasn’t just hanging out with these people and letting them do what they would (He wasn’t a “glutton and a drunkard” along with them), He was showing them their sin and gently leading them to God. He was there to save them out of what they were doing, not participating in or condoning it. People changed their ways because of Jesus (Luke 19:1-10, for one example), even though many religious people still called them sinners.

Now you and I aren’t Jesus, we aren’t doing any of the saving. But we are to be like Jesus in our care and love for others. And let me tell you, it’s a lot harder to hate someone when you’re friends with them. When you know someone as a person and get to know what they’re going through, it’s a lot harder to not care. Be aware that you do need to be mindful of the company you keep. I’m not saying to get involved in ways that you shouldn’t. I’m not telling you not to be careful of yourself and your own weaknesses when befriending others. I am saying that not everyone you befriend is out to corrupt you.

God cares and so should you. You don’t have to agree with everyone. You don’t have to change anyone’s mind – as if you have the ability in the first place. Just sincerely be a friend. Pray for them. Talk to them about God, and about right and wrong. Answer their questions, ask some of your own. Be loving about it. God will do His work in His time.

And don’t forget, we all still sin!