A lot of people—including Christians—presume I teach on topics like abortion, homosexuality, and Islam because the people represented by these topics are different from us. It is thought that I believe Muslims, abortion-choice advocates, and those who identify as gay and lesbian are the enemy, the other. We need to reach out to them because they’re so different from us.
That’s not true.
We should reach out to them not because they’re different from us, but because they’re like us. We were in their shoes once. We were also rebellious and hostile towards God. We were God’s enemy, but now we’ve been reconciled to God. We’re now at peace with Him.
We may not have identified as gay or lesbian before (though some did), but we probably did satisfy desires that God said are wrong: the desire to lie, the desire to have more, the desire for sex outside of marriage, or the desire to control others.
We may not have been Muslim and worshipped Allah before (though some were), but we probably worshipped something else other than God: money, sex, grades, good looks, or our friends. We made that our god.
We may not have had an abortion before (though some have), but we probably made other choices that were wrong: we cheated on tests, crossed sexual boundaries, lied to our family, or betrayed our friends.
We’re supposed to reach out to these people—and others—not because they’re the enemy or the other. Instead, God has called us to be ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20). That’s our identity. Remembering where we’ve come from and what we’ve been saved from gives us compassion and a longing for all to experience peace with God. Our mission is to proclaim the message of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18–19). That’s because the gospel is for people like us.