Skip to main content

As summertime rolls around, many of us find ourselves drawn into gatherings – such as weddings, family reunions, or backyard barbecues – that bring us face-to-face with individuals whose beliefs may diverge sharply from our own. Whether it’s the spirited political debates with that outspoken uncle or the subtle jabs from a skeptical cousin, engaging with non-Christians in these settings can be both challenging and rewarding. As Christians, our desire to share the peace and joy we’ve found in our faith often clashes with the fear of causing offense or stirring up conflict. 

 

At Dream City Church, we know that navigating conversations with non-Christians can be tricky. There are plenty of wrong approaches, and a poorly chosen word can inflict lasting damage. At the same time, silence isn’t always the answer. 

 

So, how can we effectively communicate our beliefs while maintaining respect and love for those who think differently? Let’s take a cue from the Apostle Paul’s journey to Jerusalem and subsequent arrest, as chronicled in Acts 21 through 22, and unpack some key strategies for engaging with non-Christians. 

Principles from Paul’s Approach

  1. Readiness to Sacrifice: When Paul arrived in Jerusalem, he was immediately warned of impending danger. Local Christians cautioned him that he faced imprisonment. Despite the ominous predictions, Paul responded with unwavering resolve: “I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13). While most of us may not face the threat of physical harm, there are often smaller sacrifices God may call us to make in sharing our faith. 

 

Whether it’s enduring discomfort or risking social tension, Paul’s example teaches us to be prepared to surrender ourselves to God’s will in any situation. Paul willingly offered himself to be used according to God’s will.

 

  1. Building Bridges: Paul didn’t shy away from connecting with his audience on a personal level. He spoke their Hebrew language and emphasized a shared history and common ground to foster understanding. Similarly, we can seek out shared experiences and interests as entry points for meaningful dialogue. By demonstrating genuine empathy and interest in others’ perspectives, we can bridge the gap between differing beliefs and cultivate mutual respect.

 

  1. Motivated by Love: At the core of Paul’s interactions was a deep, selfless love—for both God and the lost. His willingness to endure imprisonment and persecution stemmed from a genuine desire to see others come to faith. In our conversations with non-Christians, it’s essential to approach them with the same love and compassion that fueled Paul’s ministry. Rather than focusing solely on winning arguments or proving ourselves right, let love be the driving force behind our words and actions.

 

  1. Speaking Boldly, Yet Wisely: Paul didn’t shy away from speaking uncomfortable truths. Despite knowing that his proclamation of the gospel’s inclusivity for the Gentiles would likely cause offense (Acts 22:21-22), Paul boldly spoke these words nonetheless. While some Christians rightly grasp the centrality of love in our actions, there’s a misconception that love equates to avoiding offense at all costs. However, Paul’s example demonstrates that genuine love can sometimes compel us to speak uncomfortable truths, even if they risk causing offense.

 

However, his boldness was tempered by wisdom and discernment. Paul refrained from engaging in petty arguments, and his primary aim wasn’t merely to be *right.* While there may be times when we’re called to speak difficult truths, it’s crucial to do so with humility and caution.

Navigating Conversations with Non-Christians: Trusting God’s Guidance

This brings us to a crucial question: when should we boldly proclaim our beliefs, and when is it best to remain silent? How do we discern when to build bridges and when to risk offense with our words? The answer brings us back to the first point.

 

Above all, it’s paramount to be open to God’s guidance, to fervently pray as we encounter these situations, to be equipped with timely responses, and to be obedient to God’s lead. God equips us for this process, providing us with His Holy Spirit to discern and make sound judgments. 

 

Ultimately, our approach to engaging with non-Christians should be rooted in radical dependence on God’s grace. By surrendering our own desires for approval or vindication, we open ourselves up to be vessels of God’s love and truth in the world. For further insights into living out Jesus’s teachings in your everyday life, visit our website at https://dreamcitychurch.us or reach out to us today.

 

Leave a Reply