-1 Thessalonians 5:8 (HCSB)
People who are lost need hope. Not false hope but real hope. Real hope is found in the gospel.
I specifically have in mind, Christians who have lost hope, and have embraced false hope or hopelessness. I believe that when Paul mentions putting on the helmet of the hope of salvation, here in 1 Thessalonians and in Ephesians 6:17, he is telling us that if we do not, we will get hit and hurt, in the head.
Our heads symbolize our thoughts, our minds. Did you know that the hill where Jesus’ cross was set, was called Golgotha, which is Hebrew for “Skull Place”. We need salvation in our minds.
If we lose the hope of salvation in our minds, then we can become captive to all sorts of other ideas, fantasies, or illusions.
Hurting people have lost hope or are embracing false hope. The antidote for lack of hope is the gospel. But delivering the gospel to the person who has become delusional and setting them free is difficult.
You must stand in and on real, authentic love, when you deliver the gospel to the person who has become captive to illusions and is embracing something other than the gospel of Jesus Christ. Direct confrontation, that comes in pride, arrogance, lack of patience, and with a “you’re are wrong, now get with the program” attitute, will be met with defensive push-back, rationales, and hurtful retreat.
See the person with love, mercy, and compassion; as someone who lost hope and became captive to hopelessness and/or false hope. We are not happy about their lost-ness, but we care. Show you care by standing in and on authentic love for them.
In the administration of the hope of the gospel to this person, you also want to be praying for them. Pray for them when you are not with them and be in prayer for them when you are face to face with them. In prayer, you are getting God’s love for them, from which you minister and you are asking God for special help, for grace, for them. You may receive a spiritual gift for them, which will give them faith to re-assimilate the gospel.