How do I tell people about my new Christian belief?
How do I tell my parents and friends about my belief. I have been a Christian for 4 months and they are going to find out soon anyway but I’d rather be the one to tell them but I don’t know where to start. Help!
Let me start by saying how great it is that you want to tell people about your new Christian belief! The Bible says to believers:
‘you are a chosen people… a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light’
1 Peter 2:9
Praise is not just a religious word, it just means telling people how good something is. Aussies naturally praise sport. We praise Brett Lee (cricket), or Brett Stewart (rugby), or Stephanie Rice (swimming), because they are so good at what they do. Telling people about your new Christian belief is just telling people how good God has been in saving you from your sins and giving you eternal life.
A great opening is if someone asks you, ‘what have you been up to lately?’ You can say, ‘well actually, I became a Christian not too long ago’. Normally and hopefully they will ask you, ‘why?’, and then you can begin to explain to them what it means to you to be a Christian. Often when people ask you this, you don’t know what to say. That’s why the Bible says:
“always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”
1 Peter 3:15
So there are two things, 1) give a reason for your hope in Christ, 2) do this with gentleness and respect, because people are naturally defensive and hostile to God, and think that you might be judging them (1 Peter 3:16). But that’s not your fault, it’s just that they need their hearts changed by the goodness of God. That’s why we should still tell them.
Because of this, it’s important to think about the reason for the hope that you have. Start by thinking about some of the great things about being a Christian. Think about why you became a Christian. Was it because you were convinced of the historical truth of Jesus’ death and resurrection? Perhaps that’s a positive that you can talk about when someone asks you how you can be sure of your faith. Maybe you became a Christian because you realised God loves you and sent Jesus to die for you. This can help when someone is down and doesn’t see any hope in life. You can say, ‘well I didn’t used to either, but now I know that I will spend forever with Jesus’, or ‘what gets me through tough times is knowing that God loves me and will look after me’.
Other great things include having a Church family of believers who care for you. We are made for relationships, and God has kindly given us a Church family to look after us and where we can encourage and care for other people.
With your family it’s a little bit trickier. Family relationships are the closest, so you can afford to go slower with them. Also, your parents are older and wiser than you. So you need to respect them, even when they disagree with you. If you tell them you have become a Christian, or are going to Church and they ask you why, make sure you are extra careful to be gentle and respectful. But you should still tell them the reason for the hope that you have. If they tell you not to go, or give you reasons for why you should not believe in Jesus, listen carefully. Don’t argue with them straight away. Say something like, ‘I’ll think about that’, which shows them that you do respect what they say. Then go and think about it. Read the Bible, or ask others if you don’t know how to respond. Then think about how you will speak to them about it. Explain clearly and gently why you don’t agree with them, but tell them you appreciate them caring for you and looking out for your interests. This will show them two things: 1) that you respect them, and are not abandoning them, 2) that you are mature and well thought out. Your Christian belief is not just wishful thinking or the latest fad, but it is meaningful and makes sense. This will go a long way in helping them to understand why you believe and perhaps even come to trust Jesus themselves.
Most importantly, remember that with family, ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. No matter what you say, if you are argumentative or unloving, they won’t hear a word. They will see you as an immature child. Rather let them see that your life is being changed by Jesus. When they see the love that’s growing in your life, they will take your words much more seriously. It might take a long time to show them that your faith is real and mature, so pray to God for patience and love.
I hope this helps, and don’t hesitate to ask more specific questions to me, or to Christianity.net.au or another Christian. I will be praying for you.
Answers are kindly provided by our friends at Christianity.net.au