How can I impact someone else’s life without harassing them with religion?
I have many friends that don’t believe in God and many of them find it ridiculous. They know that I am a Christian, and I want to help them since I noticed that most of them are missing the joy of having Jesus Christ in their life.
As a teenager, in a school where religion does not matter, it is somewhat of a difficulty for me to talk to my fellow peers about the wonders of God.
I know most of them are going through situations that are difficult to surpass without God’s help and presence. I want to help them and show them God’s glory, but I don’t know how to since they don’t like to talk openly about God or anything. I want to know how I can show them God’s will for their lives without irritating them about what their religious views should be.
I am thrilled with your passion for your friends to know Christ. Jesus’ parting instructions to us as He ascended to heaven were, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
May God bless you greatly as you fulfill His wishes.
FIRST, RELATIONSHIPS OPEN THE DOOR TO SHARING THE GOSPEL. THE DEEPER THE RELATIONSHIP, THE DEEPER THE SHARING.
You mention that they “don’t want to talk about these things.” We know that relationships open the door to sharing. The more time you invest getting to know them, the more likely they are to open up, listen to your ideas and give credence to what you say.
Building relationships takes time and energy. We cannot sit in the comfortable pews of our church and shoot “gospel bullets” over the walls and expect our friends out there to come to Christ. Jesus ate with tax collectors, sinners, prostitutes and social outcasts. Of course, one meeting was all it took for them to build a relationship with Jesus. With the rest of us, it will usually take a little longer.
SECOND, MINISTERING TO PEOPLE’S HURTS OFTEN OPENS THE DOOR FOR THE GOSPEL TO GO THROUGH.
Alexander McLaren used to say, “Be kind to everyone you meet because everyone you meet is fighting a battle.”
I use an evangelism model, based on healing hurts, which works as well with brand-new acquaintances as it does with folks I’ve known for years.
My model is based on Romans 12:15: “Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.”
So, I meet someone, and after chatting for a short time, I’ll grin and ask them,” What is the best day you ever had?”
People never hesitate to tell me. I rejoice with them. I reflect back how wonderful that day must have been. I get excited about their experience. This is rejoicing with those who rejoice.
After a while I’ll I ask, “What was the worst day you ever had?” The better I know a person the more likely he or she is to answer. I mourn with them. I say things like, “I am so sorry. How did you feel as you were going through that difficult experience? What an awful time for you. I am so sad you had to experience that. Did you have people around the support you; or did you handle things alone? I’m so sorry that you were hurt so deeply.
This is called comforting. Jesus says in Matthew 5:4: “Blessed are they who mourn for they shall be comforted.”
At this point, I let him or her know that I understand their pain by sharing something like this, “I’ve been through some difficult times, too; and one of the things that helped me was when Jesus Christ gave me the grace and strength to handle it.”
Then, I share one of my hurts and relate how Jesus helped me.
The door is now open. People may criticize the Bible, point at the hypocrites or believe that Jesus was a myth. However, the one thing they cannot reject is your experience with Jesus.
Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-8) was a hated, crooked tax collector for the Roman government. He used his position to line his own pockets. He was a traitor to his neighbors and they hated him for it. He was a wicked, lying, stealing, cheating, selfish man.
Could you imagine that a man like Zacchaeus might have some feelings? Certainly! Just for starters you know that he was feeling lonely, rejected, despised, hated and guilty.
Could you imagine that a tax collector behaving like he was and feeling like he did, might have some needs? Certainly! Like all of us, he needed love, acceptance, companionship, forgiveness and affirmation.
When Jesus arrived in town He walked immediately to Zacchaeus’ tree and called out, “You sneaky, thieving, selfish little man! Stop it!”
No, that’s not what He said. Only a beginner starts like that. Christ gently said, “Zacchaeus, come down. I’m going to lunch with you today.”
Good things happened during lunch. Jesus ministered to his needs and comforted his hurts Three hours later the front door flew open and Zacchaeus shouted: “Half of all I have I give to the poor; and whatever I have stolen from any of you I will restore four times over!” Jesus declared, “Today, salvation has come to your house!”
Zacchaeus found faith in Christ—not because Jesus yelled, “Stop it,” but because Jesus took the time to build a relationship and then ministered to his deepest needs and hurts.
This model makes things so naturally an easy.
I met a golfer on the first tee on the golf course. We introduced ourselves and begin sharing a little as we walked together down the first fairway.
On the fourth tee I casually asked him, “What was the best day of your life?”
He replied, “I guess it was the day my son was born. We had anticipated with growing delight his arrival. It was such an exciting time. I guess that was the best day of my life.”
So I rejoiced with him about how good it is to have a baby, and to watch all our dreams come true, and to hold a little child that we had made.
Walking down the sixth fairway I asked him what was the worst day in his life?
He replied, “Well, I guess it was the day my son was born. My wife wanted to have a natural childbirth so we hired a midwife to help us. Unfortunately, there were problems and his legs were injured and not repairable. It might have been different had we been in the hospital.”
I really touched a nerve. He was tearing up He was mourning. I know what to do when I see mourning, I comfort it. We walked into the trees off the left side of the fairway. I comforted through the emotions and feelings that I knew he had. We talked about grief and anger and depression as a number of groups played on through us.
Finally, it was my turn. “Our first baby died in our arms, “I said. “We went through all the sorrow and grief and loss and depression. We had a number of folks for support. Nevertheless, the greatest help we received came from our faith in the strength and grace of Jesus Christ. May I share with you what a difference He’s made in our lives?
The opportunity was there. The door was open and the gospel walked right in.
THIRD, WHILE RELATIONSHIP BUILDING TAKES TIME, TIME IS NOT ALWAYS ESSENTIAL.
As I approached my gate at LAX I noticed a woman quietly crying. Several minutes later, I could stand it no longer, I sat down beside her and asked, “I’m so sorry you’re hurting; can I help you?
She was a Las Vegas showgirl who had just missed her flight to Mexico where she had a job as a cruise ship dancer. No later flights existed that could get her there before sailing. She didn’t know what to do next.
So, I told her how sorry I was for her loss and I told her how Jesus helped a woman caught in adultery pick up the pieces of her life and start over.
“Jesus helped her, and he can surely help you. Would you like to hear how Jesus helps people like you and me through every difficulty in life?
I must admit that I was quite surprised when she answered, “Yes”. So I shared the gospel and she prayed to receive Christ as her Lord and Savior. I gave her my pocket New Testament. I wrote down a reading list beginning with the gospel of John.
FOURTH, WE MUST BE PREPARED AT A MOMENT’S NOTICE TO SHARE OUR FAITH.
Paul advised his friend, Timothy, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season. Always be ready to give testimony to the hope that lives within you” (2 Timothy 4:2).
Fifth, We No Longer Live In A “Churched” Society. We Live In A “Post-Christian” Age. It Makes A Difference.
Once upon a time the Bible was entrenched in the fabric of our culture. You could start with the Bible and show people how they were sinful and needed a Savior–right out of the pages of Scripture.
Today, instead of beginning with biblical teachings regarding Christ and salvation, we must first deal with questions concerning atheism, agnosticism, suffering, God’s existence, evolution or comparative religions—among a myriad of other questionings. These are chasms which must first be traversed before we can even get to the truths of the Bible.
Learn about these hurdles so that you can answer their questions with at least some degree of understanding. But, remember, you don’t have to have all the answers. Your personal story of what Christ has done in your life is the most compelling truth you can share.
FINALLY, FOLLOW THE PROMPTINGS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Opportunities to share the gospel may seem few and far between with your friends right now; nevertheless, when the Holy Spirit prompts you to speak, don’t flinch.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to let you know when it’s time to speak and when it’s time to be quiet.
Remember, we cannot convince our friends of their need for a personal relationship with Jesus without working closely with the Holy Spirit.
Convicting our friends of their sin and subsequent need for a Savior is never our job. Convicting of sin is always the job of the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-11).
What we can do is explain the benefits we have in Christ, and perhaps answer their questions, and perhaps share our own faith in Christ—and why we believe. Then, pray for the Holy Spirit to break down the unbelief in their hearts by convicting them of the beauty and reality of Christ.
I hope this helps. God bless you, Rebeca, as you love your friends and find open doors deep into their hearts.