They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. (Heb. 11:37–38)

Emily was visibly upset after her first day of school. Her mother, Rose, asked the high school senior, “What’s wrong? I thought you liked all the classes on your schedule.” Almost in tears, Emily replied, “It’s not my classes, Mom. It’s my friends. Since I gave my life to Jesus last year, they pulled away from me. I feel really left out.” Rose thought for a moment about her own rejection as a Christian teen, then said, “Your ‘friends’ don’t deserve the joy of being around you. But remember, none of us deserved to meet Jesus either; yet, He approached us anyway. Just pray for your friends, and love them—from a distance if necessary.”

God put an interesting spin on rejection in Hebrews 11:37–38. Although believers are often left out—and suffer genuine persecution—unbelievers are the ones outside God’s plan. It’s up to believers to forgive those who have mistreated them, and offer the same message of hope that has transformed their own lives.

God can—and will—give you the strength you need to respond to your non-Christian friends, neighbors, and coworkers in a way that pleases Him. When He does, help those around you avoid being left out of His great plan for their lives.

Go out of your way to talk to unbelievers.

Paul Zinter serves as a substitute teacher. He enjoys writing, bread making, and teaching at his local church.