Why is it that sharing your faith with your family, at times, feels so daunting? Sometimes it even feels easier to talk about it with strangers in a foreign country than with the people we know most intimately. Maybe it feels awkward. Maybe there are past hurts we have yet to overcome, or even the reality of our own darkness before we knew Jesus. Perhaps we have been shut down too many times before or are afraid we’ll somehow damage the relationship if offense is taken. Sometimes we just feel like we don’t know the right words to say. So how do we overcome the barriers? Remember, this isn’t about “proving” we’re right and they’re wrong, it’s about them encountering the love of the One who died to be their all.
My Family = My Responsibility
It’s important to remember that we have been given our families for a reason. This is an undeniable connection that needs to be stewarded unto the Lord. Family is built and designed so that we can show the love of God to one another. It can at times seem easy to step back and pray that someone else will share the Good News with them. Whether we like it or not, it is our responsibility to share Christ’s love with our families. So, where do we start?
Your Identity is a Testimony
Prayer is always the right place to start, but we will quickly see opportunities to move past this into practical action. As you allow the Lord to have His way in your life, your family will recognize the fruit produced. Often before you even have a chance to say much. Allow your Christ-like character to speak, then, use this as a segue. When people ask questions about your life, share about how The Lord has transformed you! Your own testimony is a powerful tool that is backed up by the obvious fruit of your life.
Allow your Christ-like character to speak.”
Don’t be intimidated by accusations or by fear of your past, nor the mistakes you may still make! As new creations in Christ we have the ability and authority to stand confidently in our identity in Jesus. When we share Jesus from a point of confidence in everything that He has done in our lives it is convincing, convicting, and thought-provoking to those around us, especially those who know us best.
It’s a Process
The pressure is off. Of course prayer for our families and actively living out our faith is important. However, sometimes we forget that it doesn’t all have to happen in an instant. The beautiful thing about family is that we see them more than most people. Ministering to our families can involve a lengthy process–and that’s okay. It’s important to not neglect the other aspects of life.
People want to be cared about, to know you love them unconditionally and are in their corner no matter what. Genuine love is often what opens the most doors. When your family sees that you care about their needs and desires–that you see them as a person and not a project–of course they will be more open to what you have to say about Jesus. Your life will be a testimony of Truth.
Hold on to Hope
Finally, know that even the smallest acts of love toward them, done in Jesus’ name, can have the greatest impact. Sometimes our family members won’t let us in to all that is happening in their hearts. We may not see the thoughts and feelings that are stirring. Remain faithfully loving toward them, continue to boldly share the good works God is doing in your life, and know that Jesus is pursuing them even more fiercely than you are.
Jesus is relentlessly and lovingly pursuing your family.”
The Lord will use you, that is certain, but ultimately He will be the one to win their heart. We know nothing but what is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, and He is forever on the move. He is moving toward your father, and mother, and siblings. Pray diligently that barriers to God’s love come down, and remain open to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
As you spend time with your families, whether for holidays or reunions, or in the day-to-day, remember: It is always the time to contend for your family and to share the love of Jesus. God has placed you in your family for a special purpose. Hold onto the hope that Jesus’ victory gives us. He has paid the price for you, and you have experienced the glorious life only He brings. He has paid the same price for them, and His love is just as powerful for them as it has been for you.
- Pray for them
- Shake off that awkward feeling
- Let your life be an example
- Stand confident in the Truth
- Connect with them in love
- Show that you care about THEM as a person
- Pursue them
- Be persistent
- Remember that God is pursuing them
- Make them a project
- Pressure them or get into arguments
- Elevate yourself above them
- Be intimidated
- Lose hope