You know the old adage, “You can catch more flies using honey than vinegar”? When it comes to sharing our faith, let’s use that idea and make it our goal to be honey-people.
All around you, there are people who believe differently than you. They need Jesus, just like you do, but you can’t force Him on anybody. Instead, try leading people to Christ with a little bit of honey.
Aim for Dialogue, not Diatribe
If you want your friends to listen to you when you talk about God, you need to be willing to show them the same respect. Sharing your faith doesn’t mean shoving your religion down others’ throats. That’s the vinegar side of things.
Instead, let your witness be a discussion that’s woven throughout your relationship. Friends will be more open to what you have to say when they know you’ll listen to them, too. Genuine love and respect is like honey that draws people to Christ.
So ask your friends questions about what they believe, and encourage them to reciprocate. When they share, offer them the respect of truly listening and doing your best to learn about their beliefs. Talk back and forth about how the teachings each of your faiths holds up over time and in real life.
You don’t have to shy away from honest discussions about God and faith. God is big enough to stand up to scrutiny.
Learn What You Can
In order to understand how Jesus compares to the leaders of your friends’ religions, you have to make the effort to find out about those other faith systems. Not only does this educate you, but it also shows your friends that you care enough to learn about what’s important to them.
So if your friends invite you to attend a service at their place of worship, you might consider going. If you feel that attending would put you in an uncomfortable position in which you’d be required to show worship to other gods, it’s okay to respectfully decline. However, if you feel you could attend as an observer, but not a full participant, that might be a different story.
If you do attend your friend’s service, ask him or her to follow up by coming to church with you. Comparing one another’s services and asking each other questions about them could be an interesting starting-off point for further faith-based conversations between the two of you.
Know Your Own Faith
Being a honey-person doesn’t mean that you let go of your convictions. In fact, as you discuss faith with friends who believe differently than you, possessing a firm understanding of your own beliefs will be a major confidence-booster. You don’t have to have all the answers before you can share your faith. However, knowing you’ll be discussing it should encourage you to study and learn as much as you can.
First of all, know your Bible. The more you read it, the more readily its words will come to you when you need them in support of your beliefs. To help your understanding as you read, consult a study Bible.
The writings of respected authors can also increase your knowledge of the Christian faith. R.C. Sproul’s Defending Your Faith is a good introduction to the topic. The Universe Next Door by James W. Sire explains how Christian theism stacks up in comparison to the many other worldviews out there. And when you’re dialoguing with a friend of Hindu, Buddhist or Islamic faith, turn to Ravi Zacharias’ Jesus Among Other Gods for support. His book Who Made God?, co-authored with Norman Geisler, is another handy reference.
If you don’t know an answer, it’s okay to say so. But then go look for the answer, and bring your findings to your friend to discuss what you’ve learned.
O taste and see that the Lord is good. —Psalms 34:8
You may be the very first taste of Jesus that your friends receive. Let that taste be a sweet honey one, rather than a sour vinegar one. Respect and openness can go a long way in winning your friends to Christ.
So let’s choose to be honey-people. Into whose life will you start pouring some honey today?