Written By Lingyi Dai, Shanghai, originally in Simplified Chinese
At every stage of my student life, friends were an important part of my life. The majority of friends I was close to were not Christians. When I entered university, heard the gospel and believed in Jesus, I came to know fellow sisters and brothers in the church and became friends with them. It was at that moment that I realized the wide disparity between the values of God and those of the world. Because of my faith, I could no longer see eye to eye with friends whom I used to identify with and with whom I could share my inner feelings.
At the beginning, I was confused and wondered how to maintain those friendships. Later on, I studied Matthew 5 and came to understand that God wants us to be the “salt” and “light” of the earth.
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)
God does not want us to cut ties with the secular world. On the contrary, we need to be walking among and interacting with the people of the world in the manner God has called us to, so that others would glorify Him.
After realizing this, I started to share my beliefs with my non-Christian friends, pray for them, and occasionally invite them to church gatherings and Christmas activities. Gradually, my friends got to know more about Jesus and Christianity. Although our opinions on certain issues still differ, my friends and I have now learned to respect each other and grow in our own understanding. Throughout this time, I’ve received plenty of love and care from my non-Christian friends, and they’ve helped me to see the larger picture on many issues. They make me realize that while everyone is not perfect, each of us has our good points. If we are willing to humble ourselves to learn from others, we may be in for some surprises.
Recently, one of my best friends told me that she believes in Jesus and is planning to be baptized this year. I felt so happy for her. Now we have even started encouraging each other with God’s words. How good and amazing God is!
May God lead us to be His messengers in this world and lead more people to know Him.
“Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)