What is the key to evangelizing friends and family without offending them?

Most Christians have someone in their lives, someone they know and love, who is not a believer. Very often, pain and separation occurs because of attempts to win loved ones to Christ. We don't want to offend or hurt them, but we are driven to tell them about the danger they're in. We don't want to create tension or a rift in our relationships, but love compels us to implore them to be reconciled to Christ. More often than not, no matter how carefully we tread, offense will occur (Luke 12:51-53). Despite the risk, sharing the gospel with our friends and family is important and something Christians should not hesitate to do (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 3:15).

Is there a way to evangelize friends, family, acquaintances and co-workers without creating conflict? How should we go about the task? According to the Bible, we should be diligent to pray for them, asking God to open their hearts to His truth, helping them to see past the lies with which Satan has blinded them (2 Corinthians 4:4). Prayer is also important for each Christian, as we need God's wisdom (James 1:5) and strength, His love and peace (Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 6:15). Rejection by those we love is painful, but our love for them, flowing from God's love, should help us to stand firm and continue to proclaim the truth that they desperately need. The way we live our lives is also important, as we are an example of Christ's influence on human life. The hope and peace we experience through Him should be evident in our actions, words and demeanor (1 Peter 3:1-2, 15-16).

Preparedness is an important factor in sharing the gospel (1 Peter 3:15). Our weaknesses work against us and are used against us by the enemy as we try to rescue souls from his domain. If you are a timid, shy person you may find yourself unable to be bold or unable to think of what to say. If you are an outgoing person, you may be tempted to push too hard or become angry. If you are a persuasive person, you may find yourself tempted to change the message so that it is more palatable or easier to accept. Because of all these things, it is very important that Christians rely fully on the Holy Spirit as He speaks to us through the Word, for when we are weak, He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Corinthians 1:25). He will give the timid such love for the lost that they cannot be silent. He will give the bold the ability to temper their speech with joy and compassion. He will infuse the influential with conviction and commitment to the truth and with the understanding that it is God's power that saves, not man's wisdom or persuasive words (1 Corinthians 2:4).

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