Have you ever felt the tug of wanting to share your faith with someone, and
then you didn't?
Maybe you've known a friend for some time, prayed for him, and yet the time
"never seemed right" to share Christ with that friend?
What about that passenger in the seat next to you who opens up her life, but
you don't fully give her the answer you've found?
And then one of the most difficult of all, that family member who needs God
desperately, and yet you just can't bring yourself to tell him how to find the
If any of these scenarios sound familiar to you, then you aren't alone. I
certainly have experienced most of them at different times, and I know that
many other people who are serious about their faith have too. For many people, personal evangelism is one of
the most difficult things about the walk of faith. People want to share but
don't. What gets in the way?
Since the United States and Canada aren't dictatorships where a person would
be imprisoned (or worse) for telling others about Christ, there must be other
reasons for falling short. When we think about it, there are very few
"external" reasons in our lives today. You won't be jailed. You probably won't
get fired. If you are wise about how you share, you most likely won't lose the
Then what are the reasons for silence? Why do many of us become tongue-tied
about the greatest thing we could possibly talk about? Why do we hold on to the
best gift we could ever give someone? It's not as if something bad will happen
Think of what you are offering people when you share:
Salvation from eternal separation from God
Complete forgiveness and the answer to all guilt
A Companion for the rest of their lives
A Father who will take care of them forever
A God who will give them purpose, and the gifts, resources and abilities to
carry out His purpose
A never-ending source of love and healing
Someone Who will make their life come together
And about a million other good things
How in the world could we possibly neglect to give others the chance to know
Christ and the wonderful riches that He offers?
Certainly different people have different reasons. Some are just selfish and
too tied up in their own lives to think of anyone but themselves (Matthew
13:22). Some don't even have an active enough faith in other areas to be
counted among the living (James 2:17). Some are still in the early stages of
faith and trying to get stable. They are infants, not ready yet to take bigger
steps of faith (Hebrews 5:12-14). These are challenges, and if you find
yourself in one of these categories, find someone who can help you grow deeper
in your relationship with God.
But, for many who are not babies, not self-centered, nor dead in their
faith, there is still a lack of sharing. And more often than not, the lack of
personal evangelism is a result of some sort of fear. In this article, we'll
look at overcoming some of the most basic fears that keep us silent about the
greatest gift of all, and we'll explore emotional aids and the small steps of
faith necessary to overcome those fears.
Click on any of the headlines below to go to that
Henry Cloud, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist and co-author of the
Gold Medallion Award winning book Boundaries, among others. A frequent guest on
such broadcasts as Focus on the Family, Cloud co-founded the Minirth-Meier
Clinic West. He lives in Newport Beach, California, where he has been in
private practice for 17 years.
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