An Open Letter to My Friend Who Does Not Believe in Jesus

| Time: 7 Minutes

Dear Friend,

I thought of you today. I was mulling over our past conversations and my mind kept turning to you saying that you do not believe in what you were taught about Jesus and the Bible.

I really appreciate your honesty in sharing this with me and would like to talk to you about it more. It’s such a sensitive issue that I thought I would write out my words rather than say them, lest my courage leaves me or for fear of saying it all wrong.

What I Believe About the Bible

You know that I believe the Bible has the final say in my life, because I believe the Bible’s own claims that its Author is the loving God who created us, created the world, and who knows what’s best for me.

The Bible guides my decisions and my conduct, not because I decided to resign my will to a book, but because I love and trust the God who wrote it.

I want to be completely open and let you know that I am praying you come to know him. What I say in this letter, comes from my deep love for you, and my care for your ultimate wellbeing, not from a self-righteous attitude or the desire to win you over for argument’s sake.

What You Believe About the Bible

After our discussion, I’ve concluded that I don’t think it’s accurate to say that you don’t believe in God, or that you doubt whether the Bible is true. I think instead that deep down, you just don’t want to believe, which is an entirely different position—one you may not even be aware of.

I came to realize this as I was facing a crisis myself! I, too, was faced with something I didn’t want to believe, and I found myself using the same arguments I heard you use.

I understand what a hard thing it is to actually believe what the Bible says: sometimes, it’s costly; sometimes, it’s uncomfortable. We know that if we believe, we’re held accountable to do what the Bible says. Let me explain.

Why Don’t We Want to Believe the Bible?

Not many people like to talk about authority. It makes many of us feel squeamish and confined. The idea of the Bible’s authority over our lives doesn’t sound appealing at all.

Naturally, we’re inclined to dismiss the Good Book and its loving Author because of discomfort with its demands.

First, it is possible that you don’t want to believe because you know that if God is God, then you are not. If God has the final say, then you don’t.

If you concede that God is God, there are some things in your life that you know he will be displeased with, and there are things you hold dear that you might have to let go.

If the Lord is who he says he is, and his Word is true, then your conscience has to wake from its slumber, the skeletons must fall out of the closet, and your white flag of surrender must begin to wave over your own will.

Second, you may not want to believe in God and trust his Word because you don’t trust that he really has your best in mind.

The Bible teaches that the very first people, Adam and Eve (Genesis 3), believed this lie: God is a joy-killer only out to take, take, take, and make life miserable. God gave them a command to protect them from evil, and instead of trusting that he was good in giving it, they thought he was holding out on them.

Believe that same lie, and you will be duped just like the rest of the world has been duped ever since the day Satan started that lie. We all, by default, believe that lie at times. Say no to it and believe that God is good!

Believe that he is worthy of your trust, and he will swing open the narrow gate to eternal life and welcome you in Matthew 7:13-14; Luke 15).

The Bible Is Either True or False

This brings me to my next point: the nature of truth. I know, I’m getting philosophical here, but stick with me.

In thinking about why I so desperately want you to turn to the Lord, I wondered if there wasn’t a way where you could believe what you wanted to, and I, in turn, could continue to believe what I wanted to also, and we could all live happily ever after.

But despite the harmony that I long for with you, and how much I wrestle to find a way to just hold to “our truths,” there just isn’t a way for this; because truth is not what you or I believe. Truth is objective, and we will be held accountable to what is True.

For example, God cannot exist and not exist at the same time. Either the atheist or the Christian is right—but our beliefs are not just about being right; they’re also about living right. We will live out whatever we believe, and I want you to live from the truth.

Something I admire most about you is your common sense. As many have said, common sense is not so common. You’ve always been level-headed.

So, answer me this: Just because you don’t believe something to be true, does that make it any less true?

You may deny gravity all you want and enjoy skydiving without a parachute for the few minutes that it lasts.  Still, you can’t change the reality of gravity by your unbelief, nor the devastating consequences of it.     

If the Bible Is True, What Does that Mean for Your Life?

If the Bible is true, then for now in your state of unbelief, God is giving you the grace to enjoy his gifts—work, family, relationships, food, success—so that his kindness might lead you to repentance.

God wants to overwhelm you with gifts to the point that you can’t help but want to thank him. He wants you to recognize his love for you despite your resistance (Matthew 5:45).  He wants you to know by experience how good he is so that you will resolve to entrust your life to him.

To unwrap God’s greatest gift, you must take off your badge of authority and give it back to God. Let him call the shots in your life.

What I wish I could clearly explain to you is that it’s not just the outcome of believing or not believing—heaven or hell—that I’m concerned about, or my reason for sharing with you.

Rather, I want you to understand that through believing, you enter into eternal, abundant life now, here, on this side of heaven.

God says clearly in his Word that “whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life…and this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (1 John 5:12; John 17:3).

I want you to understand that the life Jesus offers is the best life you could live now, no matter how hard it may be or become. The book of John tells us that Jesus is life, and he is the Light of all mankind (John 1:4-5).

Life won’t be perfect or even less hard, but it will be better because you will have and know the Light, which no darkness can overcome.

The Bible tells us the story of a God who has compassion on rebellious people who want to live their own way even though he hardwired them to live his way: the best way. He rescues us from our independence from him (in which we self-destruct) at a cost only to himself and provides the way for us to be restored to true life—life under his loving rule, his friendship, and his favor.

My Request: Open the Bible

By now you must be wondering what I want from you. Here it is: I so long for you to open the Bible again.

I want you to ask God to show himself to you.

And if you find your heart resisting, and find it hard to give control over to God, I want to encourage you to tell him this!

Tell him that you want to want what he wants for you. I want you to ask him to help you embrace him as the King that he is, because I know him, I love him, and I long for you to see him—not as you think he is, but as he truly is.

I am praying that when you open the Bible, and you open your heart to him, he will birth in you faith, trust, and joy.

And then you’ll know that he really is there, and you will live in his all-satisfying joy for the rest of your life.

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