Faith, World Changers

How to Share Jesus’ Love without Alienating People Different From You

August 10, 2017 | Posted by Ashley Davis

Sometimes, reaching out to people different than you can be hard. Trying to acknowledge and respect differences while still conveying the message of God’s love can be extremely difficult. But, with some work, these differences can be respected and God’s message can still be shared.

The most important thing is to be sure that you understand that not everyone is like you. Most people don’t have the same childhood, and we all come from different walks of life. Inevitably, we will all be different.

Understanding that people are different than you allows you to take a step back and think about what you know, or don’t know about them. Thinking about things such as religious background, family life, where someone came from or anything about the culture a person may have been raised in can help avoid serious conflict.

Next, it is important to remind yourself that you won’t agree with everything that people from different cultures say, but these disagreements don’t have to hinder your ability to reach out to them. The main thing here is that you have to be respectful despite these disagreements. Trust me, getting angry and yelling at them gets you absolutely nowhere.

Here are a couple of steps I like to take when discussing differences:

1. Acknowledge your differences and make it clear that you don’t think any less of the other person because they have different beliefs than you do.

2. Try to get a better understanding of these differences, because it will often help you to be more respectful, and it will probably help you see that you have more in common than you thought.

3. Use what you’ve learned from these differences to explain God’s love in a way the person will understand. One of the best examples of this is found in Acts 17:16-34.

In this passage, Paul understood the way the people of Athens lived, and he understood the differences and similarities between them. He acknowledged their differences in religion, but he also used the similarities–the amount of devotion to their religion–to bring them the news of Christ.

But how can you apply these techniques in a more modern setting? Often, the same principles apply, as they did centuries ago.

For example, I go to a public school, so inevitably, I meet many people different from me, and because I am in a band, I get to know a lot of different people very well. One of my close friends was an atheist, and she was a person who believed in living life the way she wants since there was no one telling her to live it any differently.

Often, conflict arises when someone tells you they want to limit your choices. But instead of telling her that God was someone that would control her life, I explained to her that God would help her to live in a way that would allow her to become a more joyful person.

By explaining it to her in this way she realized that God would not limit her happiness by restricting her choices, but that He would help her be happier in the long run. She still has times where she lives the way she wants, and maybe she always will. But by not alienating her I was able to at least plant a seed of faith that she may have never listened to otherwise.

We can use these techniques to bring others the good news of Christ without disrespecting or alienating them. And while we may not all be as good as Paul was at it at first, with time, we will all be able to reach out across differences that most would see as barriers.

AUTHOR
Ashley Davis
Hi, I’m Ashley. I live in North Carolina and am a sophomore in high school. I play trumpet in Marching, Jazz and Symphonic band, and I also participate in French Club and Band Council. I enjoy reading and writing, and I am excited to learn skills through this internship to become an even better writer.