I spent some time in our Project Inspired Girl Talk FB group this week (if you aren’t already over there, join in – it’s a wonderful community), and saw a gal sharing that she has a friend who isn’t a believer. She really wants to share Christ with her, but isn’t sure how to do so without coming across as pushy or judgmental.
This is something we can all really struggle with at one time or another. On the one hand, we want so desperately for our unsaved friends to come to know Christ. And yet, on the other hand, the last thing we want to do is come across as judgmental, better-than, prideful, or pushy. Here are 4 things that are helpful to remember when trying to figure out how to best to share Christ with people in your life who don’t believe in Him:
1. Remember you were her.
There was a time when you were an unbeliever, too. So as you are considering how to share Christ with your friend, remember that she is no different than you were (or than you are, apart from Christ!). That will go far in keeping you from that judgmental attitude you are wanting to avoid.
2. Ask yourself how you would have wanted someone to share Christ with you (or, depending on what your testimony is, how someone did share Christ with you that made all the difference in the world!).
How did you come to Christ? Did someone say something in a particular way which God used to get through to your heart? Take note of that and what exactly it was that appealed to you. That person’s grace? Their love? Their humor? Their vulnerability? Assessing this can help a lot when it comes to equipping you fully to reach out to those in your circle who are unbelievers.
Similarly, ask yourself how you would want someone to witness to you, and witness in that way. We all want to be loved, respected, cared for, and treated with kindness. Take that into consideration before proclaiming the gospel, and you will be more easily able to proclaim the gospel in a truly Christ-like way.
3. Focus on the relationship first.
People are not projects. They don’t want to be treated as if the only reason you are hanging out with them is because you want to “win them over.” Wanting to see your friends come to Christ is a good thing. You should want that! But don’t make it the sum total of your time spent together as friends.
Instead, focus on the friendship. Spend time together, have fun, make it clear you love your friend. If she knows that you love her for her, that you are there for her no matter what, that you want what’s best for her, and then you share Christ? That will go a long way! This relationship-based evangelism and discipleship is so much more fruitful than just telling random people they need Jesus.
4. Have it be natural.
Don’t preach at your friend. Again, this goes back to treating others the way you want to be treated yourself. Though speaking to parents, I believe the overarching principles found in Deuteronomy 6:6-7 are helpful here, as well: “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
In other words, have it just be a natural, non-confrontational thing that comes up as you spend time together. Share about a verse you read recently that helped or encouraged you, or a lesson you read in a devotional or other Christian book that made a difference for you. Don’t force it; just share your heart and what the Lord has been teaching you.
While it can be tempting to want to almost force your friend to come to Christ because you so desperately want them to, it’s helpful to remember 1st Corinthians 3:6 where Paul says, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.”
It is our job to simply love others and share God’s Word. He is the One who then works in people’s hearts to bring them to Himself. Stay faithful in your responsibility to share, and leave the rest to Him.