This question was recently asked by one of our Google Plus members. When I first read this it brought up a lot of fresh memories of conversations I had with my father, sister, and other family members who aren’t Christians.
I remember how awkward it was when I brought it up, how frustrating it was trying to point out something I thought was so obvious (making a choice to have a relationship with Christ), and how sometimes conversations ended with silence and hurt feelings.
Testifying to family members is such a delicate topic that very few people like to bring up. I believe its a fine balancing act where there is a hidden line that you have to be careful not to cross with them. You don’t want to offend them, you know that if you come across too pushy that you’ll just end up making them defensive. At the same time, you love them so much and you understand the eternal implications of their choice or lack thereof so it becomes easy to push it a little too far.
Here are 4 ways to help you talk to non-Christian family members:
1) Understand That Each Family Member Is Different.
Its really easy for us to assume that a cookie cutter Christian response will be effective in convincing our unsaved family members that Christ is the way.
But just because you grew up under the same roof or maybe went through some similar experiences, you need to understand that your family member(s)have their own unique experiences, beliefs, and views of the world. Two people going through the same situation can see things entirely differently so what might work with your brother might not work with your sister, father, grandma, etc.
For example, when I spoke to my sister about Christ I often talked about some experiences we shared together. I even wrote her a letter one time after a very bad Christmas fight that happened. My father on the other hand is much more heady and loves facts and reason, much like myself.
So instead of sharing an experience I had I will often share with him some of my latest articles or topics involving science and Christianity.
The point is, every family member is different and will respond differently when you bring up Christianity with them.
2) Be Patient And Pray.
Its very difficult to remain patient especially if you’ve just made the decision to follow Christ.
Everything about your newfound relationship with God seems so clear and obvious and it makes you wonder why they wouldn’t make a choice to follow Christ right this minute since they are missing out?!?
Don’t forget though that you have a past too, you were at one point as lost and confused as they were and maybe even upset and antagonistic towards Christianity.
For many people, accepting Christ isn’t something you do overnight. There is usually a number of experiences and passing of time that occurs before we make such an important decision.
I accepted Christ in the middle of my college years. I still remember though it took a lot of patience by my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. An invitation to a Bible study, a prayer here and there, an encounter with a Pastor, all of these little things I realize now were adding up to my decision to follow Christ.
3. Let The Holy Spirit Guide You.
Every time my wife and I would come back to visit my parents we would always pray for the Holy Spirit to guide our actions, to give us the words to speak at the right time, and to open the hearts of our family members to Him.
God already knows what is going to happen so why wouldn’t you ask God for the insight and wisdom to help you be a witness!
4. Set An Example Of God’s Love.
No matter how much you talk the talk, you better be able to walk the walk.
You can throw all of the Scripture at your family member(s), you can say how amazing our God is, but in the end, if your living a life that doesn’t bear the fruit of God than something is probably wrong.
When I first moved to California I stayed with a Christian family. Keep in mind, I was agnostic at the time.
Yes, the family talked about God with me, they prayed over me, and they encouraged me to go to Church with them. However, it wasn’t any of those things that really opened my heart.
The door of my heart became open because they loved me as Christ loved them. They were a living example of Christ’s command to love others as yourself and that really set the foundation for everything else.
There is a reason why some of the most important scriptures in the Bible talk about love.
In summary, its only natural for you to want your family members to be in Heaven with you. Its something that we all want. I think the most important thing we can do as Disciples is live a life fully in love with God. Be passionate about our Lord, fill your life with Him and His joy will permeate every aspect of your life and the lives of others.
What has been the hardest part for you when talking with non-Christian family members?