How should we as Christians relate to people who are living contrary to biblical standards?

I faced this question recently in a shopping mall when I met two people who had left their mates and children and were living together without getting married. They were friendly, and I greeted them politely. I did not berate them, but neither did I imply that I approved of what they had done and were doing.

On another occasion a father told me that his son had declared himself to be a practicing homosexual. “I know you are a preacher,” said the father, “but I hope you are enlightened enough to understand.” I told him that I didn’t despise his son or feel any ill-will, but that God says such conduct is sinful.

John the Baptist told King Herod that he had no right to have Herodias as his wife, because she had divorced her husband to marry him (Mark 6:17-18). Although the Bible doesn’t tell us John’s manner, I think he was respectful but firm. If his rebuke had unduly antagonized Herod, the king would not have continued to respect and listen to John.

Let’s be kind toward those who live in sin, but let’s always make it clear that God hates sin, and that there are serious consequences for those who don’t repent.