Spirit of Grace Ministries
Spirit of Grace Ministries
-- Feeding Jesus' sheep
-- Equipping His servants
-- Proclaiming His Gospel

Why Secular Folks Just Don't Get Us!

By Dennis Pollock


Here's a question for my fellow evangelicals: Why doesn't the world understand those of us who follow Jesus? Many mock us, some accuse us of being haters or being far too judgmental, and others think we're just plain stupid. They are convinced we are so mentally deficient that we believe things which no right-minded, educated person would ever believe. As the comedian Rodney Dangerfield used to say, "We just don't get no respect."


Actually, this lack of respect shouldn't be too surprising. In fact, the apostle John declared this would be the case, writing:


Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him (1 John 3:1).


The first part of the verse, the idea of the great love God has for us in calling us His children, is known and loved by nearly all Christians. But that second sentence gets much less attention. John declares that the world does not know us, and then tells us why this is – they do not know Him; they do not know, recognize, appreciate, or value Jesus Christ.


We're So Different!


We are different from our secular neighbors; there's no doubt about it. We think differently, we talk differently, and our behavior is different. Our values, attitudes, and perspectives about life and morality are worlds apart from those of unbelievers. We see God in everything; they see God in nothing. Our life's ambition is to please our Creator; the secular want to squeeze as much pleasure out of life as they can. We believe in moral absolutes; they believe morality is relative, and they love to talk about their own personal truth: "My truth is not your truth, so don't you mess with my truth and I will leave your truth alone."


Except that they really cannot leave our truth alone, because our truth upsets them. It irritates and annoys them. We are so sure about the rightness of certain behaviors and the wrongness of other behaviors. And they cannot stand that. So, while pretending to be tolerant of nearly every point of view, the one view of which they are absolutely intolerant is the view of the Bible-believing Christians. Buddhists they can accept, Hindus they can appreciate, Muslims they can embrace, but evangelical Christians – they are just too over the top. And according to John, the reason they "do not know us" is that they "do not know Him."


Paul had some things to say on this subject. In writing to the Corinthians, he said:


But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14).


Veiled Hearts, Closed Minds


Here is the source of our inability to connect with and be understood by people who are outside of Jesus Christ. What we value the most: God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, righteousness, heaven, acceptance with God, helping others come into a relationship with Jesus, and so forth – they place no value upon at all. Trying to communicate at a deep level with unbelievers would be like a theoretical mathematician trying to explain intricate Calculus concepts to a small child who is struggling to learn how to add and subtract.


Paul tells us elsewhere that those who are not "in Christ" have a veil over their hearts which keeps them blinded to the truths about God:


For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ (2 Corinthians 3:14).


Jesus told the unbelieving Jews of His day:


If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word (John 8:42-43).


Poor (Spiritual) Hearing


The problems these people had with understanding what Jesus was saying was not a matter of mental perception. It was a spiritual issue. Their hardened hearts were preventing them from comprehending Jesus' words. Jesus seemed foolish to them; He made no sense; He spoke of absurdities. Jesus tells them that they had hearing problems, but not the hearing of the ear. Their hearing problem was a matter of a faulty heart. As "natural men" they could not receive the things of the Spirit of God and Jesus' teachings seemed like nonsense.


Now let's get back to John's statement: "The world does not know us, because it did not know Him." Just as those unbelieving Jews found Jesus’ words, values, and convictions foolish and impossible to grasp, today secularists find the words of Jesus' followers exactly the same. In the first chapter of the gospel of John we read this: "And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it…" Jesus, who is the Truth, came to a world filled with deception and falsehood, and they just did not get it. They did not recognize the Truth when it stood right there in front of them.


Now this sounds pretty hopeless and depressing. Because as followers of Jesus and heirs of eternal life, our great desire is to turn people from darkness to light, from falsehood to truth, from living for selfish pleasures to living for God. But if we are speaking to a people who have no clue what we are about and cannot understand our speech and have zero insights into the things related to God, what chance do we have to ever win anyone to Christ? Are we not doomed to failure in one of our greatest passions in life – the desire to persuade men and women to receive Jesus and be saved?


Reason for Hope


There is hope. Although the non-believers do not know our Jesus and may have little respect for His followers, there is something that can bridge the gap between the truth we evangelicals represent and the deception that imprisons the hearts and minds of the skeptics. And that is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…" (Romans 1:16). The Holy Spirit will use the simple message of who Jesus is, what He taught, what He did, and His death on the cross and resurrection three days later, to open the eyes of the spiritually blind, to lift the veil that covers ice-cold hearts, and to mysteriously attract unbelievers to God and His Son Jesus Christ.


This is why we open our mouths. This is why, despite many rejections, we keep on telling people about Jesus. We are not naïve. We know that many will refuse to listen. But some will listen, and they will be saved. During one of Paul's ministry journeys, a woman named Lydia heard him speak about Jesus, and gave her life to the Savior. The Bible describes her conversion this way: "The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul." Here are the two great factors involved in men and women being turned from darkness to light. First, the gospel was shared. And second, the Holy Spirit opened someone's heart to hear and respond to that gospel. Lydia was born again and given the gift of eternal life. We will see this lady in heaven!


Non-Christians do not speak our language. They do not know what makes us tick. They find us odd and very peculiar. They wonder why our morality does not slide and evolve with theirs. But we are a people who are not free to pick and choose our own morality, our own values, and our own convictions. We will keep right on believing what we read in the holy Scriptures, counting the words of Jesus and the apostles to be of greater weight than the groundless opinions of self-absorbed talk show hosts and panels of celebrities opining on matters of which they have no clue. If asked the basis for their beliefs and values, they can only answer, "Well, everybody knows…" But of course, everybody does not know. Previous generations certainly never believed what they believe. And fifty years in the future, their beliefs will be looked upon as primitive and silly by new generations of secularists. With no anchor of truth, the views of the unbelievers are always restless, always evolving, and always contradicting the views of their fathers.


Secularists will not change us, but we may change them. As long as we are faithful to keep on sharing Jesus, and writing about Him and singing about Him, and presenting Him to the world, there is hope. Who knows what brilliant young atheist will have his own "Damascus Road" experience and discover that the Jesus he or she once mocked is in truth the Savior of the world, and that the lowly evangelicals, those primitive and backward people who stubbornly refused to line up on the side of this world's "sophisticated and enlightened" views, were right all along!




For a full listing of all articles, written and audio, go to our Devo Catalog Page.



        For inspirational devos, bios of Christian leaders, free downloads, and the latest SOGM news:
Sign up to receive E-newsletter

Your donations are needed and greatly appreciated!



Just for you!

Missions Outreach

A major part of Spirit of Grace Ministries is our ministry in the great continent of Africa. There is a tremendous harvest going on in the world these days, and we are privileged to be a part of it. Above is a brief music video featuring video clips and pics from our recent mission in Nigeria in Oct/Nov, 2019.

Audio Devo: "Why is there suffering?"

People have debated this question for millennia. And we cannot speak concerning specific individual questions of suffering, but the Bible clearly speaks as to why suffering has always been a part of the human experience.