Lessons learned about acceptance from non-Christian friends

Written by Ulla Mia

Two of my best guy friends don’t currently believe in Jesus, yet we’ve maintained strong, solid relationships. I think of them as “my boys.” Whenever things get difficult or I need cheering up, I can always count on them.

I met both of them while working at McDonald’s. Since then, we’ve been through enough highs and lows together to refine any friendship. In fact, alongside my church, it has been these two who have walked the closest with me through my battle with anxiety, depression, and most notably my eating disorder.

Had it not been for them, I’m sure I wouldn’t have maintained what health I did. They always bless me with kindness or give me tough love as needed.

Of course, disagreements have arisen from our differing beliefs. One of them insists the problem with Christians is they fail to see the Bible the way he sees it—as merely a book of stories and not a moral directive. The other had to be reminded to be careful about the “religious jokes” he made to my face.

They both respect me and my faith, but agreeing with me is a different concept.

Once we discussed the differences between what is legal and what is morally correct. Let’s just say we never reached an agreement.

The conversation bothered me because I know the inability to see that there are moral wrongs as well as legal wrongs can lead to poor decisions. But still, we’re able to have such discussions freely. We care for each other enough that we’re okay to keep discussing and disagreeing.

God has spoken to me through my friendship with these dear boys. You see, they don’t earn my love for them. I don’t love them because of how good they are or because I only want to convert them. I have no ulterior motive. They are my boys because I know they are precious souls.

And God loves us similarly—only to a much grander extent! We don’t earn His love. We could never be good enough, and He loves us before we even come to know Him. He died for us while we didn’t love Him at all.

Just as these guys are aware of my love for them, receive it, and show love in return, that is how our response to the Father is supposed to be. Undeserving, we receive His love and love Him in turn. How amazing to think about! I still struggle to simply receive love instead of trying to earn it. But God’s love is so grand we can never earn it. What grace He has for us that He loves us so unconditionally!

Do my boys and I always get along? Nope. Part of me thinks we’re more famous among our colleagues for our fights than for the times we get along. Do we always understand one another? Definitely not! But there’s a bond between us that cannot be easily broken.

It is hard to grow close to those who don’t love Jesus as we do. Many times it breaks my heart to the point of tears because I so badly want them to know Jesus. But God has placed me in their lives for a reason. So, I keep praying for them and loving them as Christ loves an unworthy lady like myself.

Let’s all pray for the lost around us and ask God for the grace to shine His light into their lives. Amen!