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?