You should not (for the most part) admonish someone who is not a believer. Let me explain.
Even upon hearing this question I had another question pop up into my mind, and in doing my research I have found others have the same objection -> Should you admonish someone who is not a believer?
Should You Admonish Someone Who Is Not A Believer?
Paul makes it clear in his first letter to the Corinthians (5:12) that it is not our business to judge those outside the Church. That is God’s job. Your non-believing friend never signed up for the Christian life you did, so you should not be surprised when they do not conform to the standards of the Bible (Matthew 5:48). The truth is they are doing what they are suppose to do.
What does this mean for you? Should you confront your adult buddhist brother about sleeping with his girlfriend? Should you preach to your atheist neighbor about how he got wasted that one time? Should you argue with your friend about his unbiblical desire for money? No. No. & No.
What should you do then? Dive into your relationship with Jesus. Let Him change your life. Pray for your friends. Ask God for an opportunity to speak to them about Jesus, and when that time come don’t waste your time on their sin. Tell them about Jesus. If you don’t know how to do that. Here are some tools.
However, we do have to address Proverbs 24:10-12 which basically condemns someone who knowingly watches an ignorant person head towards their demise. This means that there is some imperative on the Christian to mediate a situation where someone is heading towards death and destruction. Appropriate application of this verse include interventions for substance abuse, stopping physical abuse, or literally preventing someone from walking off of a cliff.
I think we are not to admonish nonbelievers unless we see them heading towards significant harm for themselves or others. We are free to also give biblical admonishment to a non-believer if they ask our opinion; let’s hope they do. As a result we should allow all nonbelievers to sin (for the most part) freely… This feels blasphemous, but I think that is what the scripture is saying. Perhaps if we look at their destructive habits as an opportunity for them to turn to God when they hit rock bottom we might be able to understand why God would prefer our silence.
Please leave a comment. I’d be curious to hear where other people land on this so I could have a better idea if my conclusion is incomplete, well founded, or completely wrong.
~ Daniel F. Grey
MORE ANSWERING HARD QUESTIONS
Is My Unbelieving Loved One In Hell?
How Can A Good God Allow Suffering?
Can Someone Embrace Homosexuality And Still Be Saved?
How Do You Direct A Stranger Who Wants To Take The Next Step As A Believer?
Why Do Christians Obey Some OT Laws & Ignore Others?
-1 Corinthians 5: 9-13; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Matthew 5:48; Proverbs 24:11-12
A bit of side track but interesting and tactical.**
I don’t think we are suppose to admonish nonbelievers (mostly)
- We are definitely suppose to admonish our brothers and sisters in Christ. There are tons of verses to back this up but here are a few. Matthew 7:1-5; Colossians 3:16
- Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians that is not our business to judge those outside the church. That is God’s job. 1 Corinthians 5:12
- However proverbs says we should warn people if we see them heading to their demise. Proverbs 24:11-12
- In conclusion. I think we are not to admonish nonbelievers unless we see them heading towards death (like alcoholism or physical abuse to oneself) or we are asked by them to speak into their life. And we would leave some of the “lesser” sins completely alone (watching inappropriate videos or cursing or stealing). This feels blasphemous but I think that is what the scripture is saying. Perhaps if we look at their destructive habits as an opportunity for them to turn to God when they hit rock bottom we might be able to understand why God would prefer our silence.