[Jesus said] "Who are my brothers? ... Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." (Matthew12:48,50)
We call fellow Christians, "brothers and sisters" in spirit. But what about unbelievers? Are they not brothers and sisters also? Are they not God's prodigal children - blinded, misguided, corrupted, and perverted, but His children nonetheless, and thus our siblings?
If they are not your brothers and sisters, then how can you love them? If you do not love them, then how can they find out what true love is? If they don't know what love is, then how can they come to know God -- for God is love, and His presence is made known through love. (1 John 4:12)
As long as there is the ghost of a chance that a person will respond affirmatively to God's love expressed through us (and there is always that chance!), we should affirm him or her as our brother or sister.
Now love is expressed
through trust and acceptance, not suspicion. Jesus showed love to
the Samaritan woman by asking her for water, when no other Jew would dream
of doing so. He loved the leper by touching him, when no one else
would dare to do so. Without a doubt, people cannot be trusted fully
(not even other Christians!). However, our prayer and desire should always
be, "Father, help me trust You that I might make myself vulnerable
without fear. Protect me from those who would abuse my vulnerability.
But if you will that I would suffer, strengthen me to endure with joy.
You did this always for Your Son Jesus -- please do it for me as well.
I ask this in Jesus' name."
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