Walk in wisdom towards outsiders.
I used to think this was a sales pitch. That I had to be on my best behavior towards people who didn’t know Jesus because that’s what sales is all about.
I’ve grown up a bit since then and Jesus has done some work in my heart and I’ve come to see this a little differently. It isn’t a pitch for me to make sure I bring my “A” game towards people who don’t know Jesus. It’s about something so much bigger than that. It’s not about my morality among the lost, it’s about my character.
I want the people around me to see Jesus. I want them to know the great and matchless love that God has shown to me. I want them to know about the kind of mercy and grace I’ve been given from God. And while in my heart I really do want this, when my mindset gets on other things ( my career, my safety, my passions, etc.) and not on God and his kingdom, it becomes really easy to show people something else. The “outsiders” in my life don’t see Jesus in me, they see a strict supervisor. They see a jerk husband. They see a nagging wife. They see terrible parents. They see lazy workers. They see a whole lot other than Jesus.
Now, while I would never hide my flaws like I used to think we were supposed to do, I don’t just live in them either. I repent from them. The hardest part, that usually happens in public. It’s usually me apologizing for being short with a coworker. It’s usually me saying you’re right, I should have gotten to that report first. I’d get it done right now. It’d me going back to my wife again for grace when I’ve been rude and “hangry.” It’s an honest portrayal of what it means to live with Jesus. It’s not about being a perfect person, it’s about having a new set of ambitions and goals. It’s about having a new driving factor in my life and letting the new thing be the grace which I have received, the new life I’ve experienced.
We want in wisdom towards those who don’t know Jesus because the last thing I want to do is misrepresent him to those around me. The last thing I want to do is show someone more of my sin without showing them the hope and grace that comes along with it. I shouldn’t be acting perfectly. I should be open and honest about my struggles, allowing others to see how God is working in me.