Let’s Talk About Jesus…Nicely!

I cannot say that my memory is not what it used to be. It’s been bad for as long as I can remember. So, just from last week to this week, I had already forgotten that I was going to write about this topic and I had already written a whole post about something completely different. Fortunately, I caught myself and will post the other article next week.

For this week, I want to continue where I left off from last week’s post. When we last ended, I had promised to go over some ideas on how to talk about Jesus while minimizing how uncomfortable we sometimes can make people when we talk about that sort of thing. To that end, let’s dive on in.

So, how do you share Christ without seeming like a Bible-thumping zealot and making people feel like you’re beating them over the head with your faith? That’s a great question. And the most all-encompassing answer I can give is probably going to seem as though it’s not very helpful…at first. In the most ambiguous terms I can muster, it comes down to this…know your audience.

Really that’s the crux of it. Know your audience! If you know who you’re talking to and what they are like and how they communicate and where they are at with respect to their faith (or lack thereof) and such matters, that will go a long way toward discerning how to approach them. Each person is going to be different and will respond differently to different methods, tactics and such. Your job is to know your audience in order to know which approach will work best and do the least amount of damage to them, you, your relationship and their potential to accept Christ.

Greg Koukl has a book available that talks about the tactics that you can use to talk to people about Christ. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book. He uses what he calls “the Columbo Method” quite a bit. I’ll leave it up to the book to describe this in more detail as this is more geared toward what to do once the conversation has begun.

What about that uncomfortable moment when you’re hanging out with someone and you really want to bring up Jesus, but aren’t sure how to do it without sounding like a fanatic? After all, it’s broaching the subject that typically seems to be the hardest part.

Perhaps one really easy thing to do is to take advantage of your local church and any events they might be having in the near future. Our church recently had “West Fest” where they had inflatable slides, bouncers, train rides, petting zoo, live music, a hay-field maze, obstacle courses, etc. That’s a pretty easy thing to invite someone to. And it opens the door to talking about the church itself. From there, it’s not so difficult to mention the current teaching series and then invite them to check it out.

Sometimes, whatever the series is that is being taught is just what someone needs right then. If you know someone dealing with loneliness and that’s the current subject of the teaching, invite them and let them know that you really think they’d benefit from the teaching. No obligations. No strings. (Or, at least, there shouldn’t be.)

If you’re fairly plugged in at your church, it’ll help provide plenty of opportunities to bring things up. People talk about stuff they do. That’s normal and natural. If you go to Bible-study on Wednesday nights, there’s no reason you can’t mention a conversation that came up at Bible-study. Or you can bring up a funny/related situation that you recently heard/went through involving someone at your church.

The important thing to remember is…if they just don’t want to go to church with you, or they don’t want to talk about Jesus or the Bible or anything like that…don’t push it. It’s not respectful of them to push them to believe something that they aren’t ready to believe or simply don’t want to believe.

It all goes back to…know…your…audience.

Have you had conversations with friends, co-workers or family that resulted in them going to church and accepting Christ? Share some of your experiences with us.

Grace, love and peace.

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16 Comments

  1. To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.
    [Psalms 40:1-3 KJV]

    I put my trust in the Lord Jesus Christ back in 2006, prior to that, my life was a complete mess. I look back now and it is plain to see what the Lord has truly done for me. As I continue to take a positive and realistic view of God’s Word, that is the King James Holy Bible, I experience a true peace that can not be found throughout the world. People can’t be taught about Jesus, they have to experience Jesus.

  2. I’m not “running away.” I’m just tired of repeating myself.

  3. “As I already pointed out…so do you. You just put a negative spin on it because it’s Jesus.”

    Where was that pointed out?

    “As long as they don’t involve faith.”

    No, even then I dig good deeds (that was the very point).

    “I’m not sure I’ve ever known anyone who has ever twisted things around or taken things out of context as thoroughly, consistently or to the degree that you do. This is apples an oranges. In my comment was not even related to the above quote. I was in response to something completely different.”

    No, I’m quite on track and following the theme of this very blog post. You claimed to have never said that the goal was to talk about Jesus. Then I pointed out where you actually had said that at the very top of this page.

    You seem to be confused. You also fail to do better than to come back with a extremely vague objection (if you look at the quote above). If you want to contradict me, please be specific and don’t hide behind vagueness *again*.

    “You’re not “keeping it honest.” You’re taking things out of context, mixing them around and trying to make them seem like something they are not. In effect, you’re pretty much blatantly lying.”

    More vagueness.

    “I’m not going to continue having discussions with someone who misinterprets something, ignores any subsequent clarification and then dogmatically sticks to their original, incorrect interpretation of what someone else said/wrote (an interpretation based on one’s own presuppositions and ignoring the author’s original intent).”

    Have you noticed that in every discussion we have had, you have always run away saying things like “I’m offended!” instead of being able to defend your stance on the issue?

    Because I have noticed that.

    “The fact is, you apparently hate Jesus and anything to do with it”

    I don’t hate people I don’t believe exist. Why do most Christians have a hard time understanding this?

    “make false assumptions upon which you build superficial arguments that don’t seem to have any benefit other than that you like to argue.”

    That’s rich coming from someone that butted into the conversation I was having with J.T.

    We have already established that you can’t defend your faith, and that you only wish to preach to the choir, so why do you constantly engage in these hit and runs (because you have always run) if you know how unreasonable I am?

  4. “You do good for a bribe.”

    As I already pointed out…so do you. You just put a negative spin on it because it’s Jesus.

    “Don’t get me wrong, I dig good deeds.”

    As long as they don’t involve faith.

    “And this is what you said:
    “I had promised to go over some ideas on ***how to talk about Jesus*** while minimizing how uncomfortable we sometimes can make people when we talk about that sort of thing.””

    I’m not sure I’ve ever known anyone who has ever twisted things around or taken things out of context as thoroughly, consistently or to the degree that you do. This is apples an oranges. In my comment was not even related to the above quote. I was in response to something completely different.

    You’re not “keeping it honest.” You’re taking things out of context, mixing them around and trying to make them seem like something they are not. In effect, you’re pretty much blatantly lying.

    I’m not going to continue having discussions with someone who misinterprets something, ignores any subsequent clarification and then dogmatically sticks to their original, incorrect interpretation of what someone else said/wrote (an interpretation based on one’s own presuppositions and ignoring the author’s original intent).

    The fact is, you apparently hate Jesus and anything to do with it, so no matter what explanation is offered, you ignore it and just continue to make false assumptions upon which you build superficial arguments that don’t seem to have any benefit other than that you like to argue.

  5. “I guess if that’s how you look at it…personally, I think that’s just sad”

    It’s what you said yourself: doing good to achieve heaven.

    You do good for a bribe.

    “That’s your opinion, that it’s false. You seem to be ok with any other reason for doing something good…as long as that reason isn’t Jesus. And when it IS faith-based, suddenly that’s not ok.”

    Don’t get me wrong, I dig good deeds.

    “You’re twisting things around. I never said that the goal is to talk about Jesus.”

    And this is what you said:
    “I had promised to go over some ideas on ***how to talk about Jesus*** while minimizing how uncomfortable we sometimes can make people when we talk about that sort of thing.”

    Keep it honest, or I’ll keep it honest for you.

    “Again, twisting things around. My guess is you view “love” here as a feeling. I’m using it more as a verb. Would you have a problem with a parent telling a child to “be nice” or “be respectful” or “be honest?””

    You said your god commands love (both for him and for others). That’s not twisting your words.

    And regarding the parent thing. Let’s compare like with like: I *would* have a problem with a parent telling his child that it had to love/respect the parent or get tortured.

    And respect is earned, not ordered.

    “As I suspected, you’re misconstruing things based on misunderstanding what it means to love in the way it is taught in the Bible. You look at it as a feeling. I look at it as an action because that’s how it’s used in context.”

    So you are saying that every time love is mentioned in the bible, it talks about some action devoid of emotion? Excuse me if I disregard that as your personal interpretation of the bible.

    I think we both know that god basically says “love me or go to hell”.

  6. “Exactly. “If I do a good deed, I will get paid for it!”.”

    I guess if that’s how you look at it…personally, I think that’s just sad. You yourself said “a good deed is it’s own reward” so apparently, as long as Jesus isn’t involved it’s ok to have a selfish motive.

    “Look, my problem with this is that Christians will attribute every thing and every deed to God, no matter how false it is. ”

    That’s your opinion, that it’s false. You seem to be ok with any other reason for doing something good…as long as that reason isn’t Jesus. And when it IS faith-based, suddenly that’s not ok.

    As for miracles, I’m about done with that term because it’s used so often and in so many situations that are NOT miraculous that the word is beginning to have little, if any, meaning.

    “If your goal is to talk about Jesus and paradoxically not have that very thing as your agenda”

    You’re twisting things around. I never said that the goal is to talk about Jesus. I said the goal was to be obedient and to love others. If they ask why I do it, if Jesus is the answer, that’s the answer I’ll give.

    “I read your entire post as a reflection on how to proselytize *sneakily* without people running from you. Of course, that’s probably the cynic in me.”

    That does seem to be your M.O.

    “Ordering compulsory love is immoral.

    Again, twisting things around. My guess is you view “love” here as a feeling. I’m using it more as a verb. Would you have a problem with a parent telling a child to “be nice” or “be respectful” or “be honest?”

    “Also, every Christian must have greater control over their emotions than I do, because I sure can’t just start loving some guy I just met a few minutes ago, maybe especially if that guy doesn’t understand that *everyone* has heard the “good news”.”

    As I suspected, you’re misconstruing things based on misunderstanding what it means to love in the way it is taught in the Bible. You look at it as a feeling. I look at it as an action because that’s how it’s used in context.

    Context seems to be a big issue in a lot of your comments, I’ve noticed. You seem to have a habit if inserting your interpretation and world-view into my words which are based on MY world-view…not yours.

  7. Welcome back!

    “For most of the Christians that I know, however, the motivation is not to avoid hell, but to achieve heaven.”

    Exactly. “If I do a good deed, I will get paid for it!”.

    “if I’m doing good things as a result of my faith and someone asks why I’m doing good things, why would it be so inappropriate to be honest about the fact that it’s due to my faith?”

    It calls your motivation into question. Look, my problem with this is that Christians will attribute every thing and every deed to God, no matter how false it is.

    Like that blogger who basically said “god should get the Nobel prize because he made physics, chemistry and the whole wide world! Why aren’t they thanking my god for their success?”

    Or like when Christians thank god for the work of doctors, proclaiming “it’s a miracle!” and attribute it all to prayer.

    All I’m saying is that good people would probably still be good and they deserve their own credit without prostrating themselves and surrendering the spotlight to god.

    “It’s not, as you suggest, so that people will as about Jesus, which is the point I made in the post…no hidden agendas, no strings, no obligations.”

    I pointed out the strings in my first comment. If your goal is to talk about Jesus and paradoxically not have that very thing as your agenda, all you can do is to wait until someone comes up to you.

    I read your entire post as a reflection on how to proselytize *sneakily* without people running from you. Of course, that’s probably the cynic in me.

    “If they don’t ask about Jesus, we still love people. If they don’t accept Christ, we still love people. If they turn around and abuse whatever gift/service/thing we’ve done or given them, we still love them. That’s the command we were given.”

    Ordering compulsory love is immoral.

    Also, every Christian must have greater control over their emotions than I do, because I sure can’t just start loving some guy I just met a few minutes ago, maybe especially if that guy doesn’t understand that *everyone* has heard the “good news”.

  8. “That’s where it turns into something petty. Did you do something because you asskissing Jesus is what Christianity is about, or because you were afraid of hellfire?”

    This seems to be a common misconception of the motivation for Christianity. Or perhaps, rather than “misconception” it might be better to refer to it as a “generalization” or “stereotype” as this IS likely true of some Christians.

    For most of the Christians that I know, however, the motivation is not to avoid hell, but to achieve heaven.

    I think, if I may speak for J.T. here, that his point is, if I’m doing good things as a result of my faith and someone asks why I’m doing good things, why would it be so inappropriate to be honest about the fact that it’s due to my faith? Just because you may not accept Jesus, I don’t think that should mean that I should keep Jesus out of it when that may honestly be the reason why I did this or that good thing.

    There may be other times that, though I’m a believer, I may do something good for a different reason OTHER than faith. Perhaps I just felt like it. Maybe I was making up for something I had done wrong. Or I could have just been doing it for not other reason than to be nice.

    But, if I do something good and my main motivation is because Christ told us to love one another, then if I’m asked that’s what I’m going to answer. It’s not shoving Jesus down someone’s throat or trying to proselytize. If they don’t believe in Jesus even after I tell someone that He’s the reason I’ve done something, oh well. I’ve done my part. I’ve shown an example of the changes in my life as a result of my faith and I’ve given credit appropriately.

    A good deed CAN be it’s own reward, but I think that just because you aren’t a Christian, you can’t tell those of us who are not to include our own faith in explaining something we have done…particularly if our faith is our reason for doing it. It’s not, as you suggest, so that people will as about Jesus, which is the point I made in the post…no hidden agendas, no strings, no obligations.

    Basically, what we do, if we do it for Christ, that’s all there is to it. We do it to be obedient to Christ and leave the results up to Him. If they don’t ask about Jesus, we still love people. If they don’t accept Christ, we still love people. If they turn around and abuse whatever gift/service/thing we’ve done or given them, we still love them. That’s the command we were given.

    Grace, love and peace.

  9. “I was using an example where it was a person’s faith that caused their action.”

    That’s where it turns into something petty. Did you do something because you asskissing Jesus is what Christianity is about, or because you were afraid of hellfire?

    A good deed is its own reward, and when you add religious reasons for your actions not only do you place credit where it does not belong, but it cheapens the whole deal.

    Or if you made the good deed because you want people to ask “how is Jesus involved in this?” then it’s not very grand either.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a discussion about religious matters, but it shouldn’t be one-sided and the believer shouldn’t bolt as soon as a critical question is asked.

    “If the reason I do something is because of some faith I have, or some experience why should I not give credit to the cause of my actions? I am not saying that if someone does something good that it has to be because of Jesus.”

    I went ahead of myself a little and answered this paragraph before I read it.

  10. Korinthian,

    “Actions are indeed to be preferred before mere words. But there’s the problem of showing that good actions are because of your religious faith or just because you’re a nice guy.”

    I don’t see the problem, if I have good actions and it cause someone to ask me why I have good actions this would do exactly what I was getting at. Instead of the dreaded monologue that you mentioned earlier it would be a two way conversation with questions and answers.

    To your point that it might be because of my religious faith or just because I’m a nice guy, you are correct it could be. But then after the action part if someone asked why I did something it would be just as right of me to say because I’m just a nice guy, or that’s how my parents raised me, or because of my religious faith. I was using an example where it was a person’s faith that caused their action.

    “So if I see a person do something nice, I might be inspired to be charitable too. There’s no need to get Jesus involved, though.”

    I will not argue that people can do the same thing for different reasons. I don’t understand why you say there is no need to get Jesus involved. If the reason I do something is because of some faith I have, or some experience why should I not give credit to the cause of my actions? I am not saying that if someone does something good that it has to be because of Jesus.

    It does not offend me when I notice something about a person that intrigues me, that when I talk to them they share why they are the way they are. I might not always agree with their viewpoints but I respect the life they live according to their system of belief. To the point of the post “Let’s talk about Jesus…Nicely!” my comments are ways I think that can be achieved.

    Thank you for your comments.

    Stay Strong.

    J.T.

  11. @J.T.

    Actions are indeed to be preferred before mere words. But there’s the problem of showing that good actions are because of your religious faith or just because you’re a nice guy.

    So if I see a person do something nice, I might be inspired to be charitable too. There’s no need to get Jesus involved, though.

  12. Daniel & Korinthian,

    I’m a few days late to the party but I have enjoyed reading your posts Daniel. But what is a post without comments and Korinthian you have complemented Daniel’s posts very well.

    “Let’s talk about Jesus…Nicely!” “Let’s talk about Darwin…Nicely!” “Let’s talk about socialism…Nicely!” It doesn’t really matter the subject you put in this phrase, in the end you have two choices. You are either, talking to the choir or to those that disagree with your perspective. Either way the results aren’t nice usually. The problem has nothing to do with the subject as you can see buy changing the subject the same results come up. It’s the verb that causes the problem.

    In each of the examples above we are really trying to express a philosophy. In my opinion the best expression of a philosophy is in actions and not words. Now, staying focused on the subject of the post “Let’s talk about live like Jesus…Nicely”. I agree with you Korinthian “The problem that many Christians have on this issue is that they don’t want to “talk about Jesus”, they want to “tell you about Jesus”. A monologue.” They are talking in words and not in actions. If they lived in actions, the things they are talking about, it would avoid the argument.

    When a person without thumping a Bible or their chest, loves his neighbor as he loves himself, it will draw the question from the neighbor, “Why do you do it?” Then we can share our personal experience with Jesus and how it has changed our life. Actions before talk are a far better way to express the message of Jesus.

    Stay Strong.
    J.T.

  13. Yes, miracles do happen. Hence, I posit this as proof of the existence of God! 🙂

  14. I guess miracles do happen. We agree!

  15. “You say there shouldn’t be any strings attached? Would you continue to grace a lonely person with your company if that person wouldn’t want to talk about Jesus?

    I’m going to take a leap in the dark and say that most Christians wouldn’t.”

    I would agree that most Christians wouldn’t. That, in fact, is the point. Christians SHOULD minister to the needs of people without hidden agendas, obligations, etc.

    That is the most commonly misunderstood thing about Christianity…both by non-Christians as well as Christians. If more Christians would wake up and notice how Christianity is perceived around the world, perhaps they would start going back to becoming more like Christ.

  16. The problem that many Christians have on this issue is that they don’t want to “talk about Jesus”, they want to “tell you about Jesus”. A monologue.

    That’s your whole problem.

    Also, it could easily be seen as unethical if you go after weak people (children, inmates, lonely people).

    You say there shouldn’t be any strings attached? Would you continue to grace a lonely person with your company if that person wouldn’t want to talk about Jesus?

    I’m going to take a leap in the dark and say that most Christians wouldn’t.

    So there is your string.

    I’m, however, not against you hanging out with lonely people. But let’s be honest about your objective.

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