“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” – (Colossians 4:6).
Nothing gets the heart racing and the palms sweating more than knowing that you have to have a hard conversation with somebody. Hard conversations challenge everyone. Most of us resist bringing up uncomfortable topics, and all of us squirm when others initiate such conversations with us.
We encounter hard conversations with family, within the church, and with people who don’t follow Jesus. They pop up everywhere, and most days, we feel ill-equipped to navigate sensitive subjects the way we truly wish we could. What if we could address those challenges and find ways to have more real conversations about hard things?
Talking to people about Jesus is not like having a conversation about your favorite restaurant or vacation spot. It isn’t even like talking about your marriage or even parenting styles—as important as those are. Talking to people about Jesus is the most intimate and important conversation you could ever have with someone.
If we want to take advantage of opportunities to share our faith, we have to learn to embrace the so-called awkwardness. If our chief concerns are about avoiding awkwardness, it would be more awkward not to talk about eternal things. You and I never know those who have been, who are, and who will soon be wrestling with these weighty spiritual issues, waiting for someone to bring them God’s word. Believe that God is both willing and able to give you what you need in order that you might joyfully spread the word about his Son, however seemingly awkward it may feel at first.
Conversations with non-believers should not be difficult. We know it’s an amazing thing we have the privilege to do, but we want to just get through it as quickly and safely as possible. Our job isn’t to change someone. Our job is to speak. Instead of viewing talking with a non-Christian as a life-risking endeavor, what if we found common ground? To find common ground we must show a real interest in them.
That doesn’t mean we start with our conversion story. Rather get to know the person. Ask him how he is doing, or what is new in her life. Ideally, your initial conversations should be very little about you and all about them. Ask him or her about life and ideas and plans and achievements and concerns and anxieties. Be interested and respectful.
Talking to others about Jesus isn’t easy. But like anything in life, the more you do it, the easier it is, and the better you are at it. One of the unexpected blessings of telling others about Jesus is how God uses it to remind me of His love for each of us.
- How do we find common ground with others in a conversation?
- To what extent do you invest the necessary time and energy to make meaningful connections with others? What stands in the way? What choices are you making?