Should we have a ministry to people who abuse us?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Dear friends, it is no secret this world abounds with “users and abusers.” Such people take advantage of the kindness of others. They particularly expect us Christians to work for them for free. At their insistence, we should open some form of “business”—taxi service (driving them around everywhere), daycare facility (watching their kids constantly), construction company (doing frequent home maintenance for them), and so on. A well-meaning soul would say, “Even though they are known drug users, thieves, habitual liars, and alcoholics, I can mingle with them and show them the light of Christ. If need be, I will work for them for free just so I can be a witness to them!” Is that reasonable?

Undoubtedly, we should do whatever we can to help the less fortunate, needy, and disabled: “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth (Ephesians 4:28). As much as we possibly can, we should especially take care of other Christians’ needs: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10).

Romans 12:9-21 is another excellent passage to consult: “[9] Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. [10] Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; [11] Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; [12] Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; [13] Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. [14] Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. [15] Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. [16] Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. [17] Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. [18] If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. [19] Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. [20] Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. [21] Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Now, this is not all the Bible says about our relating with others. We should apply sanctified common sense as well. Bear in mind 1 Corinthians 15:33-34: “[33] Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. [34] Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” Simply put, we put our Christian testimony and spiritual health at risk when we associate with certain people. We are deceived if we think they cannot inflict great damage upon us. Perhaps they have a criminal reputation. Or, maybe they belong to some cult, a haven of false teaching. If we are not careful, these avenues will become gateways for Satan’s evil world system to enter our life and attack us. For example, since the Christian Corinthians had allowed pagan Greek philosophy to mislead them, their so-called “spirituality” was nothing but an embarrassment. Sin is contagious. One person acting in the flesh will be enticed to sin if he or she sees another person acting in the flesh—that applies to lasciviousness (loose living) and asceticism (strict religion/philosophy).

It makes no sense for any Christian to surround himself or herself with lost people and expect to have victorious grace living. Too much exposure to the evil world system will bring any Christian down—from the new believer in Christ saved yesterday all the way to the apologetic pastor in ministry for 50 years. Never underestimate the effects sin can have on your life if you open yourself up to it. Consider these two equally tragic, real-life illustrations.

Currently, this author has a brother in Christ, a dear friend in grace ministry, struggling with illegal drug addictions. For years, he had contact with heavy drug users, and rather than him influencing them to come to Christ, they enticed him to follow them in their criminal lifestyle. In recent months, he has almost gone to Heaven on a few occasions because of his near-fatal overdoses! The nightmare his family members have experienced could have been avoided had he been more cautious in ministry. On a positive note, he has just started seeking treatment in a drug rehabilitation facility. Hopefully, he will recover himself from the snare of the Devil!

Some years back, the author had another brother in Christ, another good friend in grace ministry. This Bible teacher, after attempting to convert an atheist, became atheistic himself and a hostile Bible scoffer! Even after this author reached out to him to correct him, he never responded and continued on his wayward path. Three years later, it now appears he is more confused and smugger than ever. Unless we take adequate precautions, saints, sin will conquer us in ministry. Be ever so careful and prayerful before getting involved in these types of cases.

We need to make wise use of our time and energy. Wasting the Lord’s resources on people who refuse to better themselves is foolish. It is not God’s will for us. Having a ministry to people who outright abuse or habitually take advantage of us is a formula for disaster. Once we no longer positively influence them, but we reach the threshold of them beginning to adversely affect us, it is time to “count our losses” and move on to people who do want to be saved in Jesus Christ and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).

Also see:
» How long should we keep witnessing to the same person?
» If God knows who will serve Him and who won’t, why witness?
» Must I witness to be saved?
» Can we witness “too much” to family members?
» Once Christians fall into gross sin, will God use them again?
» If God wants to save all—but only few are saved—is He not “weak” and “limited?”
» What are evil communications in 1 Corinthians 15:33?