How we treat the lost is a direct reflection of our spiritual maturity and our character. I have experienced too many times how a “saved” person treats an “unsaved” person. They were treated as they were a second-hand citizen. At the core of sharing the gospel with someone is to do so with a heart of humility and peace. Isn’t this what Jesus did? Are we not supposed to emulate Christ since His Spirit lives within us? We are taught how to act towards an unbeliever in the fourth chapter of John. In this chapter, Jesus went to Samaria and arrived in a town called Sychar. He was exhausted and rested at Jacob’s well. Then, Jesus saw a Samarian woman come along and draw some water. He then asked her for a drink of water. He was alone because His disciples went off into the town to buy food and their dialogue began.
It is written, “The Samaritan woman asked Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (For Jews have nothing to do with Samaritans.),” (John 4:9, AMP).
We all know what happens next, Jesus tells her that whoever drinks from the water that He provides that they will never become thirsty again (John 4:14). Then, Jesus tells her of her sin, having five husbands and living with a man unmarried (John 4:17-19). However, what I want to highlight is how she (an unsaved person) reacted when a Jew (a religious person) spoke to her. She was surprised that Jesus would speak to her because His people treated her people as being ceremonially unclean. So, drinking from her vessel would make Him unclean by Jewish customs.
Notice how the religious people of that time shamed those who were not like them. For those who did not have their same beliefs, they were not even spoken to. How do you think this made them feel? When people that are supposed to know God are constantly speaking death over a people that are lost, they will continue to be lost and they will never find salvation. This truth is the same now as it was then. If we cannot find it in our hearts to treat those who are not saved with love, respect, and render them the same grace that was given to us then we cannot honestly call ourselves Christians. A Christian is a disciple of Christ and as He served us, we must serve the world. We do this with love and humility. We do this by treating people with dignity, instead of treating them like they are less than being made in the image of God. We need to be reminded at times that we used to be just like them, lost and trying to fill a void in our life.
We see that Jesus did not treat this Samarian woman harshly. Even though she was a sinner, He took the time to connect with her. He showed her of her ignorance to sin. He showed her that she was living “in” and “of” sin. Then, He showed her the need for a Savior. He shared with her about the truth of His Spirit (the living water) and the comfort that could only come from Him. This is what won a sinner over, and we must learn from this. How we treat the lost will either bring them closer to Christ or further away. The only difference between the two is our love and humility in approaching them to begin with. I pray that we can all take this lesson to heart and learn to treat our Samaritans better!