Today I am going to talk about a subject that fills many people with fear. For some the very thought of doing this can bring them into a cold sweat, they become nervous, doubtful and as a result never share their faith with the people that they are obviously closest to. Their parents, siblings, aunts and uncles and other relations need to hear the message just as much as anyone else. But very often the fear of damaging a relationship puts people off doing what they desperately want to do - to see their loved ones come to Christ.
They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved -you and your household." Acts 16: 31
“This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.”
1 Timothy 3-6
Key Point: Don’t feel guilty if this is an area you have struggled with in the past
The first thing to say with regards to this is don’t feel guilty about it if this is an area that you find difficult. It is common for many believers, so don’t give yourself a hard time about it. One of the first people I led to Christ was my mother. I had been saved for around eight months and had shared Jesus at almost every opportunity I got from the day I received Jesus as Lord. I had opposition from her initially but the Holy Spirit opened her heart to the truth. It was a great day indeed.
However, my two elder sisters are a completely different story. I put them off completely with my somewhat confrontational style, telling them that they were sinners and that they needed to repent. That was eighteen years ago when I first came to Christ. Since then I have had just a few opportunities to share Jesus. Each time has been quite awkward and difficult. Although I have noticed each time that they are a little more receptive. I want them to know the truth because I love them. I am sure that you find the same with your family members that don’t know Christ.
Remember that our close relatives know our short comings all too well. They know when we are grumpy, miserable and irritating. They may have seen us start weight loss programmes, exercising or similar things only to see us fail. When I was young I used to wind up my sisters by playing practical jokes on them, arguing and generally being a pain. Now suddenly I was telling them to:
“Repent, for the Kingdom of God is near” Matthew 4: 17
The obvious change in me was difficult for them to take in.
As a motivational speaker and sales trainer one of the things that I would say to my audience was “You can’t buy years of experience”. It’s true; we only get that by learning through our successes and failures.
So here are some suggestions that will make a difference when it comes to sharing Jesus with those who are closest to you.
1) Prayer: It is vital that you continually lift your family up in prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to open their hearts, to open their blind eyes, to break down barriers. I’m am sure that you do that anyway, but I would go further and suggest that you be very specific in your prayers. I have said before, that God can open the hardest of hearts. Pray for opportunities.
2) Lifestyle witnessing: Your family will be watching you closely. Demonstrate the love of Jesus through a serving heart, by doing things that you wouldn’t have normally done in the past. They will need to see you living out what you truly believe. If you get asked why you are doing it, gently share what Jesus has done in your life. For example, if you gossiped before you came to Christ, it must stop immediately, or you will be seen as a hypocrite.
3) Witness to them while you are on your own without distractions: It is difficult to share the Gospel when someone is watching their favourite TV Soap or sports programme. Equally it can be difficult if there are other family members there at the same time. Pride can come in here and the person may object because they feel embarrassed. Pray and wait for the opportune time because God will provide it.
4) Share the Gospel on a testimonial basis: Rather than make the mistake that I did by being confrontational and pointing out what I saw as errors in my sisters’ lives, the best thing to do is explain what happened to you, how you found Jesus. Tell them how God convicted you of your sins, your life, lying, stealing, adultery. (Whatever your sin was). Share how Jesus died for you and by accepting His forgiveness how your life has changed. If your listener has been receptive you can ask a question like “I realised that I was a liar and a cheat. Have you ever done anything that you know was wrong”? Their answer can open the door for you.
5) Ask a Christian friend to witness in the same way: Sharing our testimony is an incredibly powerful way of witnessing. The barriers that may have been built up between you and your sibling or parents can be broken down through your friend sharing their story. It is amazing how it can happen.
6) Don’t pressure them: That is exactly what I did. I pushed the Gospel down my sisters throats and as a result the job is now much harder. I have heard Christian say to their parents “Don’t you want to see your grandchildren in heaven”? That is not the Gospel in any way at all. People must recognise that they need a Saviour and that they must accept Jesus and ask Him for forgiveness.