That’s a question all believers face at some point, and it comes in many forms:
- “Now that I believe in Christ, will I lose my friends, some of whom think Christianity is a joke?”
- “Will I make new friends if I lose the old ones?
- “Should I tell my friends about what just happened to me?
- “How do I tell my friends I now believe in Christ as my Savior?”
- “What will my friends think of me?”
- “Do I have to walk away from my ‘worldly’ friends? Will they dump me?
And the list goes on. . .
The founder of The Navigators is said to have answered the “How long should I wait before telling my friends……..” question with something like “Do you want that in minutes or seconds?”
Well. my son Dan (also and mostly known as Hauss) told me this last Father’s Day how and why he handled the situation, and probably addressed the above list and most of the other questions that could be added to the list.
Hauss had already been sharing with me over the last year or so how he had been finding out, while ‘hanging out’ with the same crowd, that he no longer felt comfortable engaging in some of the activities involved, and was even developing a distaste for what he had previously enjoyed or thought perfectly normal behavior. The changes he was experiencing were not unnoticed by his friends, and he has been sometimes asked what happened, to which he would reply “I got saved.”, after which he would talk about it. No beating around the bush there!
At some point he decided to just write a letter to everyone on his ‘close friend’ list and tell them all about it. The reason he gave me was basically that it was the right and fair thing to do. They are close friends and close friends don’t keep secrets from each other – he needed to just be up front and honest with them. There was nothing overtly ‘evangelistic’ – no motives other than honesty and integrity. What a concept!
Naturally I was pleased, but not terribly surprised, because I have listened to him share his testimony of having confronted sin, repented of it and trusting in Christ. I have no doubts concerning the genuineness of his confession of faith. What did come to mind however, was something I can’t remember ever having thought a lot about in the context of this scenario – sharing one’s faith with those who are close to us.
Hauss, with his letter, had not only answered a lot of questions faced by a ‘young’ believer, he had avoided the pain of being the one to initiate the severing of a close relationship, should that be the best course of action in the fuure. That ‘ball’ was no longer in his court! Since he had simply been open, honest, and caring, it was now on the shoulders of the receivers of the letter to respond. They would either :
- Choose to remain friends, either dismissing Hauss’ testimony as only a temporary phase, or with a genuine interest/curiosity, possibly due to an ‘awakening’ in their own hearts, or
- Sever the friendship at some point or other because they ‘couldn’t handle the truth’ presented, because they had not yet been awakened by the Holy Spirit to hear and receive the gospel message in Hauss’ testimony.
If they hung around hoping for a ‘phase, they would come to another decision point whether to stick around any longer or just write Hauss off as a ‘lost cause’.
Interesting thing though. I don’t think for a second that Hauss has experienced much of the personal stress this whole scenario invites. He just did what came naturally. That’s just the way he is. Or should I say ‘new’ naturally!
If you are reading this and think writing a letter might not be for you, you could be right. Perhaps God will plant some other way to tell the ones, who are often the hardest to tell, about your salvation, The important thing is to face the question(s) head on, continue to read your Bible, pray about it and, like a famous commercial: “Just do it!”
God will take care of the results, whatever they me be, ‘positive’ or ‘negative’. Not only that, the peace you will find is beyond words, at least any words I have at my disposal – and I am a ‘wordy’ guy at times.
What ABOUT your friends?
Marvelous! His letter writing was a very mature decision. God will bless him for his faithful witness. keep us posted on results. Even if there is no obvious fruit for a really long while, there is hope.
Just wanted to add this. When I was newly saved, I wrote notes in pretty cards and sent them to friends. I wrote scripture and gave each a personal note on how God works. Surprisingly, when I went to see each one at their homes later on, in each case my card was displayed on top of the tv or a table or somewhere in plain view. I was surprised. And they all commented on being touched. Two did what you mentioned. though touched, they decided I was in a phase!
Ha! because of having ‘lost’ my boyfriend. One said that was very nice, just don’t be talking about God now hen you come over.
And on it went. Yet, later some would open up to me, over time, and talk about God and salvation. But, yeah, some dropped me later when they saw it wasn’t a phase.
Hi Laura and thank you for your comments. They are a real blessing and encouragement to anyone else who reads this. I hope others will also share their stories of how they told their friends. It sunds like is should be a snort book or something, just stories of how folks told their friends. I know they are out there!
I agree. They ARE out there. And personally I think it’s always an encouragement to myself and other believers to hear how another proclaimed Him to their own circle. As long as it’s done in a way that is putting the focus on the working of God and not self.
I am sure there are all kinds of reactions from loved ones and friends. Sad, funny, scary, and of course possibly an actual conversion!
Thank you for the encouragement! To keep you all updated, I am finishing the first few letters. I am a little nervous about the results but, not quite as nervous as I thought I’d be. It mainly has to do with letting the Holy Ghost work. I remember failing once at presenting the Gospel and I felt that i had done God a severe disservice which had left me so sick that I never wanted to witness again. He wouldn’t allow that to happen and brought me co-worker (the very next morning) who was struggling in the same manner I was before He saved me. Then another, and another, and so on. I know when we let God show us the directions we need to take, we need not resist the path He has laid out for us. Which makes this much less difficult. It’s like… instead of those silly “God is my copilot” bumper stickers, letting Him take the wheel, since He is in the drivers seat already. And I know He’ll change the oil more frequently than I will to keep the car running. (I hope this isn’t a terrible analogy.) He knows who I am writing to and who I am praying for. At first I thought of just sending everyone the same letter with scripture but God knows that each person needs the same Gospel but with a sincere reach, being they all knew me at different times in my life. My friends that knew me to profess a more lip service, checklist Christianity, need to know about genuine conversion. My friends who think God is some impersonal pluralistic, force need to know of the personal God we serve. And my friends who saw a particular set of documentaries and hate Christians, need to know how and why we were lied to in those films; I am not worshipping the sun or belong to some cult group; and refutations for their assertions. They all need the Gospel, but I don’t know how He wants me to present it to each individual. Only He knows that… and it makes the process more interesting with Him working. And just in case the backlash comes from the friends that saw those vids, I enjoy contending.
Please keep all of us in your prayers. Especially for my friends’ hearts to be open to receive Him.
Great update and testimony, Hauss!