Whether you’re a new believer or have grown up in your faith community, sharing your faith is likely important to you. You care about your friends, but you don’t want to be ashamed of what you believe.
So it’s natural to wonder: how can I talk about faith without harming friendships?
I’m hopeful that I can encourage you to share your faith confidently and lovingly using some of the things I’ve learned along the way.
Without Love, It’s Nothing
One of my favorite passages in scripture are Paul’s words about love in 1 Corinthians. He starts the chapter this way:
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
It helps to remember these powerful words before I share my faith. If we share our faith to be boastful, or because we are looking down on others, we might as well say nothing. Our words and actions must be motivated by love to make a positive impact on the people around us.
And yes, this means sharing our faith with other people because we love them. But it’s more than that. If I shared what was wrong with someone else’s life or their beliefs, they aren’t going to be open to having many more conversations with me about my faith.
But if I am sharing what I love about my faith, it’s much more likely to come across in a kinder, gentler way.
Put Faith into Action
Talking about what we believe is good, but when people see our faith in action, that’s even better. Here’s how:
- Treating people with kindness
- Loving our enemies
- Helping people who are in need
- Being patient with someone who is struggling
These are just a few of the many ways we can show people that we trust in God’s power and love with more than just our words.
Be Prepared for Some Rejection
This may sound discouraging, but I find it freeing. If I am not expecting perfect responses every time I share my faith, I feel a lot less pressure. It helps me to remember that Jesus and many of his followers got treated terribly by many for sharing their faith. But they still changed many lives with love.
If someone gets angry or distances themselves after talking to me about faith, it’s natural to feel down. But it’s helpful to know that, even if I ruffle a few feathers, it’s still good and right to share what I believe with kindness.
Listen and Learn
It’s good to remember that sharing our faith is a conversation. It’s always a good idea to listen to your friends, let them ask questions, and share their feelings. As long as it’s a mutually respectful conversation, it’s a great way to grow your relationship and strengthen your friendship.
Wait on God
I’ve noticed that, unless I make a conscious effort to put it before God, sharing my faith can become more about me than about Him.
Sometimes we have no idea what to say, and that’s okay. Prayer and patience are great ways to put things before God in faith. There is nothing wrong with waiting on Him to make things clear.
Praying for friends is always a good choice, too. It is an act of love, and it can help us gain wisdom and insight on how to be a better friend to them when they need us.
It’s important to remember that you will always feel a little uncertain when it comes to sharing your faith. And that’s totally normal. After all, we don’t know how it will go until we try. But it’s a great idea to reach out for encouragement when you feel afraid.
Talking with a HopeCoach at TheHopeLine can help you find a way to bring faith and friendship together. We are here to listen and support you however we can on your faith journey.
Is your friend mad at God right now? Our expectations or false ideas of who God is can sometimes be the root of the anger. Read my blog, What to Do When We’re Mad at God for help.
Photo by Helena Lopes