“How Can I Witness to Older Relatives Without Offending Them?”
Written by Ask Olivia | April 2, 2014
I am a Christian, and many members of my family aren’t. How can I witness to those who are older than me? It’s different when the person’s opinion doesn’t matter to me, but I want them to love me and I REALLY don’t want to offend my family. I know God says that we WILL offend people, but I want to keep it to a minimum where my family is concerned. But, at the same time, I want them to be saved, because I love them and want to see them in heaven. How can I talk about Jesus with older relatives?
I think it’s fantastic that you have a desire to witness! Not many people have the courage to witness to others, but as Christians we are called to share God’s Word. But it’s not easy, is it? It can be tough to get up the courage to begin a conversation, let alone have it, with someone who’s older than you. But witnessing to others doesn’t have to be a scary experience. I mean, what is witnessing if it’s not sharing how amazing God is?
Witnessing is basically talking with others about your own experience with God. The key here is to share how God has worked in you and in your life. And if you focus on yourself and not on others, then witnessing won’t be so daunting.
So here’s what I think you should do:
- Before talking to anyone about your faith, do your homework. Seriously! Learn everything about your faith. You can’t have a solid discussion about a subject if you’re not well informed about it. And trust me when I say that not many Christians are familiar with the teachings of their own denomination. If you have the knowledge, you’ll have the answers and therefore you’ll have the credibility. You’ll then earn the trust of those you speak to.
- Begin witnessing by being an example. You have to show others how being a Christian has changed your life for the better. And you can only do this by living it. So glorify God in everything you say and do, and others will see that. This in itself may spark conversation that leads to witnessing. So make your life living proof of the Word–sometimes that’s all it takes.
- Don’t set out to teach others about God. Set out to share what God means to you. Relate it to you, so they can see the effect of the relationship on you. This takes the focus off of them. And eventually the questions about God will come.
- Be willing to listen and learn. No one likes to be talked at, so don’t use this opportunity to lecture someone about how they should turn to Christ or live a more Christian life. You want to have a conversation.
- Don’t compromise the message. If you’re going to get into it, don’t be afraid to share the truth, but do it diplomatically.
- Don’t have an argument. You just put people on the defensive and then the goal shifts from sharing the Word to winning a fight. If you want to win a soul, don’t be so focused on winning the argument.
- Leave the conversation open. You want to share the truth, but you don’t want to offend so that your family member doesn’t come back for more. You also want to keep the conversation going. Don’t exhaust the subject so that the next time you have a family gathering, people make an extra effort to steer clear of you!
- Always remain respectful, especially when it comes to your elders!
Good luck and God bless!
Need some advice? Ask your relationship questions in the Ask Olivia Girl Talk forum or in the comments below and I might answer them in a future article!