Q: “How do I respectfully evangelize? Is it wrong to talk about God around people who don’t believe in him? How can I share my faith without fear?”
A: Any time a controversial topic is brought up, lines are drawn and sides are immediately chosen. Since a lot of us tend to struggle with desiring the approval of others, challenges arise during discussions because we want to avoid conflict and confrontation. We fear sharing our beliefs because we don’t want to offend someone or even lose a friend.
What if she stops talking to me? What if he ends up hating me? What if it ruins our friendship? What if she asks a question that I’m not sure how to answer?
All of the above has previously stopped me from sharing my faith with friends and family, but this doesn’t have to always happen. We can share our faith respectfully and without fear.
God calls us to share our faith with others through our actions and words. The words part can make some of us tremble in fear. The root of this fear is the lack of control we have when we share our faith with another. We have no idea how they’ll respond, and of coarse – we always think of the worst possible ending.
Friends, we have no control over what the other person will think or say. Sometime when we share our faith, we get flustered and stumble over words, so we really have no control over our words or the words of others. The good news is that we worship a God who IS in control. God holds the whole world in his hands (Isaiah 40:12), including all the conversations we have with our loved ones.
“Do not tremble, do not be afraid.
Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago?
You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?
No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.” (Isaiah 44:8 NIV)
Here are some tips to help you share your faith respectfully and without fear:
1) Remove the stress and pressure. God is the only one who can open someone’s heart to receiving the gospel (Ezekiel 36:26-27). This removes the stress of the person’s reaction.
2) Give the Holy Spirit control. Instead of worrying about what you will say, focus on listening to the Holy Spirit and having a spirit filled conversation.
3) Pray. When you pray before, during and after a conversation, you will be so full of the Holy Spirit that you are relying 100% on him and 0% on your own ability. When you are 100% following the Spirit’s lead, He will talk for you and lead you in a respectful conversation.
4) Listen. Ask questions to discover where your friend is on his or her spiritual journey. Try to listen more than you talk.
5) Don’t force anything. Maybe it is not the right time for them to hear the gospel. Keep them in your prayers and pray that God gives you another, better time to share.
6) Avoid the ‘shocked’ face. Try to never be shocked over something the person says. They may share a secret sin with you and you never expected those words to come out of their mouth. Don’t act shocked. The person probably already feels shameful and worried that you will judge them, so instead thank them for sharing with you and encourage them that you are just as broken and sinful.
7) Stay true to the Bible. You can still fully respect someone and have completely different beliefs. Never change your beliefs as an act to ‘respect’ someone. This helps no one. It makes you feel weird, it keeps the gospel hidden from your friend, and most importantly it saddens God. Remember when Peter denied Jesus?
I pray that these tips will help you share your faith with your friends and family.
Comment below and share what has been the hardest part of sharing your faith with others!
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