Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)
As Christians, our lives are under a microscope. Every word we say and every thing we do is being criticized because of what we believe and what the Bible expects of us. It seems as if there is always someone waiting to call us a hypocrite, a backslider or an altogether fake Christian. It’s difficult to receive this from the world, but how much harder is it to hear it from our own family? Because we love them and their opinions mean so much to us, it can make it harder when they don’t accept what we believe or call us crazy for praying to an “imaginary God.”
Is this beginning to strike a chord with you? If so, there are some things I’ve learned in my walk with God about witnessing to loved ones that I’d like to share with you today. Here are five things to keep in mind when sharing your faith with family members who aren’t believers.
- No matter what the response is, always be ready to bring God into everyday conversations and share how He is working in your life personally. You can bring up a lesson you heard on the radio that really helped you out, or offer to pray for a family member who is dealing with an illness. If it comes up, you can even talk about the defining moment that led you to The Lord. We can debate about science, philosophy or historical evidence all day long, but your personal experience is totally unique to you. When sharing your testimony, keep your approach kind and respectful so that your family knows you’re coming from a loving place.
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15)
- It’s easy to slip into a mindset of judging others and thinking, I can’t believe they’re okay with doing that. What’s wrong with them? God provided grace to us while we were still sinners, and we’re called to walk in that same grace when dealing with anyone we come across in the world. Instead of pointing out your family member’s flaws to them, keep loving on them and make use of your quality time by building them up. This may jog their memory of how you used to be before you gave your life to Jesus and they’ll think to themselves, Wow, she really HAS changed. This God must be real.
For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Matthew 7:2)
- You may be the only example of Jesus that your family members see. If your walk is on shaky ground, it’s going to be very hard to convince them that Christianity is the way to go. Make sure that you’re living a lifestyle that reflects the Bible so that they can see The Lord in your own holiness. As you do this, you’ll most likely notice that they are more open to what you have to say because they’re seeing actual change happen in your life that inspires them to want a life led by God.
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14)
- I think one of the hardest things to do is forgive those who have wounded you deeply. Walking around with a grudge can feel like a festering wound that won’t go away. By tearing down the walls you’ve built up around you and releasing yourself of bitterness, you make room for kindness and compassion. Seeing your family as God sees them will soften your heart and give Jesus an opportunity to speak through you in order to plant important seeds from the Holy Spirit.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
- I know many of you may have been witnessing to your family for as long as you can remember. It may even feel hopeless at this point. I promise you, God already knows what it’s going to take to get to their hearts and win them over. You have to be patient and willing to give your worries to God as you continue to pray for your family. No one cares about them more than He does.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)
I understand that even with all of these things being done, there are still people who have refused to allow Jesus into their hearts before their spirits left this Earth. This is a very hard truth to digest, but as long as you’re willing to be used, God will work through you within your family to bring Him glory. We do not have the power to save; only He does. Keep a passionate prayer life and you’re bound to see things ultimately shift for the better. Your role is important. God hand-picked you for your family and it’s unimaginable what you’re capable of with Him by your side.
We’d love to hear your thoughts! Are there any family members we can help you pray for? Do you have any praise reports of family members coming to know The Lord? Let us know in the comments.