[Papercut Press] 2001-08-01 - Sharing Our Faith With Family

John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

The Question

"I believe my Dad may have cancer & is dying, and I am the only one in my family who attends church, reads the Bible, etc. On occasion with my Dad, I bring up God, but not to him as much as to the rest of my family. He is not as easy to talk to. Now more than ever I need to approach this topic for his sake, and I'm unsure how to start. I have the courage, I believe but he has a way of stopping a conversation dead in its tracks if he doesn't want to hear it."

The Answer

Sharing the love of Christ with family members is a great challenge for many Christians. We feel the burden to share with them the joy we have experienced, but we fear the rejection that our attempts might bring. We know the positive encouragement's to tell others about our faith and even the command given by Christ in the Great Commission. However, this doesn't make it easy. I would like to try to get practical here and suggest some ways we can show the love of Christ in a nonconfrontational way.
  1. You have to be walking closely with Christ. We see in the Bible that people were drawn to Christ. Many didn't like His message, but they still came out to hear it. Walking closely with Christ will transform you more and more to His image and that will only cause people to wonder what it is that makes you stand out. When they ask, then the opportunity to share is right there for the taking. I'm not saying this is easy with family. With family, it is the hardest because they "really" know you. However, a close walk with Christ will cause at least two other things.

    1. A close walk with Christ will mean that you have a decent prayer life. This means you will be praying for your family, and prayer is one of those great Christian graces that we have that will move the hand of God. David says in Psalm 4:3, "The Lord hears when I call to Him." Prayer for your family is a great way to be sharing with them in a totally nonconfrontational way.

    2. A close walk with Christ will mean that your insights and responses to situations will be different from others in your family. You will have an opinion that is often different than the non-Christian and this can only lead to interaction between you and your family on a spiritual level. It is to your advantage to be refining and developing this through your walk with the Lord.

  2. There are ways to start conversations that can become spiritual without forcing the gospel down someone's throat. A phrase like, "You know what I thought was interesting about the church service today?" can lead to something. You can even drop that one out of the blue. Another approach is to look for metaphorical relations between your faith, Bible stories or verses. Then you can relate them, in conversation, to situations of everyday life If you are fluffing a pillow you could say, "Did you know that Jacob in the Old Testament used a stone for a pillow?" This could be an opening to a spiritual conversation. That story is found in Genesis 28:11-12.

These are just a couple of ideas and there are lots more, but the key is to try to make witnessing as natural a part of your life as possible. Taking an interest in others and then sharing spiritual insight is something that takes practice for many, but it can be learned. Your strongest testimony to your family, to the truth of what you believe, will be found in your daily life.

There is a need to bring people to the point of decision. But there is rarely the need to push hard for a decision to follow Christ. Salvation is, after all, a work of the Holy Spirit, John 16:8. In a sense, our evangelism is often more effective when it is a lifestyle evangelism. Confrontational witnessing, especially within our families, is, at times, less effective than simply "living Christ" before those we know and love.

Sharing the love of Christ with our families is never easy. However, God may have placed you in their lives to be a light to them, and there is often no one closer and no one else who will take an interest in their eternal state like you will. This gives you the privilege of being an ambassador of the kingdom of Heaven (2 Corinthians 5:20) in your own house. May God bless your efforts.

Soli Deo Gloria,

[email tim] godrulestb@aol.com