19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today. 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.
8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.
9 Jesus said to him, Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
Graham Cooke explained this story like this...
So in those days to have a man of Honor stay at your house was a gigantic honor in that community. It was the ultimate shout out, or retweet that you were “it”. So why did Jesus honor him? Look what he says in verse 8. If I have cheated anyone (the term “if” in original language is ... “if,and um.. I have” I will pay them back 4 xs that amount” By Jesus honoring Zacheaus the entire community was blessed because he changed his heart in the present, went back and repaid 4 times that amount for the past. And would not abuse the community in the future....
Ok, so... whats the point. The point is, Jesus showed up loving Zacheaus first. Did he say, “ zacheaus you ripped people off you suck. You are going to hell if you dont repent!” No, he loved him. I would contend that your brother is blind, and you wouldnt mock a blind man for tripping over the furniture. You would love him and show him mercy.... his atheism does not invalidate your faith. You have something he does not, peace. Show up loving him and have a sense of peace as you do it. That will be what screams to him more than telling him he will go to hell.
“You would love him and show him mercy.”
I agree, I just think that providing truth (Scripture) and urging people to repent is loving them and showing them mercy.