It can be really hard to tell your friends and family about Jesus. They are the people closest to you. They are the people you least want to offend, and the relationships you least want to damage or lose. However they are probably the people you most want to see come into a relationship with God.
Here are some thoughts on this subject.
1. Live your life in such a way that there is no doubt as to who you are following
We need to show before we tell. Words are cheap, but our actions will say more than our words in many circumstances. Are we loving, kind, consistent? As Christians, how do we react to difficult circumstances and pressures? Is it any different from the rest of the world.? Make sure there is no unforgiveness in your heart and you are honouring your parents in all you do and say. A life of integrity is the best sermon you can preach. Be patient with yourself as God is patient with you. It often takes time for our lives to change – for our light to shine. (Exodus 20:12) (1 Peter 1:13-22).
Praying for those we love will increase our compassion and understanding for them. It will increase the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives, preparing the way for the word of God to be spoken to them. Just speaking to them about God may not work if they are not ready to hear it. In the book of Genesis, the Holy Spirit was hovering over the waters.
Gen1:2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
Before any words were spoken, God’s spirit was hovering. This is what prayer can do. When we pray for someone, the Holy Spirit hovers over them, then when the words of God are spoken, light comes, new life comes and order comes out of chaos. I prayed for my brother for 19 years before he came to Christ and my best friend for 23 years. But when they were ready and the loving invitation of God was offered to them they took it.
3. Don’t argue
In 2 Timothy 2:23, Paul says, “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.”
It is very easy to get into arguments about faith, especially with family. I think it’s pointless, and only entrenches each party further into their positions. Instead, listen. If someone is an atheist and love to read Stephen Dawkins books, you read his books too. Find out what they believe so that you can have an intelligent discussion. Spend time listening to them. Do not judge, you have no right (Matthew 7:1). It is not argument that brings people to repentance, it is the kindness of God – and He is going to use you to show it (Romans 2:4).
4. Know what you believe
When people ask question like “If there is a God how come he allows so much suffering?” you should be able to discuss these valid questions. It is worth reading about these issues (The book ‘Searching Issues’ by Nicky Gumbel is very good.)
If someone asks you to prove that God exists, just suggest that they ask Him not you. Suggest that they say to Him: “God if you exist, show me.” You can’t prove God’s existence to them, but He can. Their belief is between them and Him not them and you.
5. Be ready
Don’t forget that God has what the world needs. Peace, unconditional love, forgiveness, healing both physically and emotionally, not to mention eternal life – knowing God in this life and the next. You are his representative in your community. You may be the only person who your friends and family know who knows Him. You are an Ambassador for Christ.
Roman 10:13 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
8. Above all, love
Telling your friends and family is an act of love. It is the best thing you can do for someone, so do it with love. Because we love Him, and we love them. As Christians we are in no way superior to unbelievers. We have just been graciously shown where true life is. Let us graciously show others where we have found it.