My mates go for a drink after work, what does this mean for me?

Heading down to the local pub for a few drinks after work is very much a part of Aussie culture. Being invited by work colleagues may excite some but for others the thought of being in a worldly environment proves a challenge to their way of thinking. What does it mean for me when my mates go for a drink after work?   

I have come to realise that when I am invited for drinks a significant step has taken place in my relationship with that person. In effect that person is saying “I value spending time with you and I enjoy your company.” This invitation also reveals to me something significant about that person. This is an environment where they feel relaxed and comfortable to spend time together.

 

Let me ask you this

Isn’t this the place we want to be in our relationship with the people in our lives, where they feel comfortable to initiate spending time together? Don’t we want people to feel relaxed and to trust us enough to be who they are around us?

Accepting an invitation like this can send a powerful message to your mates. It can show them that you also value your relationship with them and feel comfortable to be yourself in “their world”. Accepting an invitation breaks the myths that Christians are out of touch with this world, that they are judgemental and in their own “bubble”.

 

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Most practically though, this may be the perfect opportunity for you to get to know them better and develop a true redemptive relationship with some colleagues. Could this be an opportunity to have conversations that go beneath the surface?

It would be crazy for me to suggest everyone should always accept this invitation. For some, being in an environment like this would present too great a temptation. For others, entering a situation like this may cause a stumbling block to others. So “take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak” 1 Corinthians 8:9

But for many, we must remember our focus is not where we are but our focus is to be why we are there. Jesus has sent us into the world, just as he was sent into the world by his Father in heaven (John 17:18). Like Jesus we are sent into the the world, but as his disciples we are to live a life committed to purity and keep ourselves “unstained from the world” James 1:27

 

Last thoughts

For the Christian, the invitation for drinks after work by mates isn’t an invitation to get drunk. Neither is it an invitation to just go along with the world. It can be, however, an invitation by God into that person’s life, an opportunity to bring Life (Christ) into that relationship.  

 

How can I love them when I don’t agree with their actions?

I’ve been wrestling lately thinking about the people in my life who I would love to develop a deeper relationship with but feel restrained because I can’t go along with their way of life. I know Jesus calls me to love this person but I find myself asking, “How can I love this person when I don’t agree with what they are doing?”.

 

I am not the only one

 

As I listen to those around me speak about their relationships with others and observe what is happening between various people groups in our community, I discover I’m not the only one wrestling with this question. How do we love the drunkard who mistreats his wife? How do we love the activists who believe abortion is a valid option? How do we love those whose desire is to redefine marriage to accommodate a sinful lifestyle? How do I love those who by their actions mistreat others or mistreat me?

 

Jesus – a friend of sinners

When Jesus lived here on earth he never compromised his message. He stood for truth and righteousness and yet the “sinners” loved to come near and listen to him. What was it about Jesus that was so attractive to these people? How did Jesus love people in his time even though he didn’t agree with them and what they were doing?

When we read through the gospels we see Jesus spending considerable time with secular, non-believing people. In fact, Jesus had a reputation for hanging out with secular people. In Luke 15:2 “the Pharisees and scribes grumbled, saying, ‘this man receives sinners and eats with them.’” Jesus was known as a “friend of sinners” Matthew 11:19. But Jesus’ aim wasn’t just to become great mates with the world and accept their sinful practices.

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People in need of a physician

 

No, he came to call people to a new way of life. In Luke 5:30  “The Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’ And Jesus answered them, ‘those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have come not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.’”  

Jesus was able to love people in his time even though he didn’t agree with them and what they were doing because He didn’t just see sinful practice, He saw sick people. Sick people in need of a physician—someone who could make them well, heal their hurts and most importantly, restore them in their relationship with God.

 

Last thoughts

How do you view the secular people in your life? Do you see a sick person in need of a physician or are you like the Pharisees that only see sinful practice? It’s only when we spend time loving people that we discover how unwell they are without Jesus in their lives. When we spend time loving people, then they discover their need for Him.

 

Don’t be like the Pharisees. Choose today to see people like Jesus saw them and feel free to love them as he did.

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