How compassion and understanding makes for a better faith conversation

When you tell a friend about something good in your life that can make a difference for them, think about a caring approach to the conversation. A mindset of kindness, rather than forcefulness, can help you have a more meaningful discussion. Scripture encourages this attitude.

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15, New International Version).

As you interact with the person, there are three things you can keep in mind through your conversation: their story, the goodness of God, and how deep needs create common ground.  


Learn about the person’s background

Listening to someone’s thoughts and perspectives demonstrates interest. Ask follow-up questions to hear more and to understand. You can hear what the person says instead of making the conversation a one-sided teaching.

As you listen, it could help to gain more understanding about how the person has reached their spiritual conclusions. You might think about how their story or past events play into this. Empathy for someone’s story demonstrates love for that person.


Remember the goodness of God

When you learn someone’s thoughts about spiritual topics, remember the goodness of Jesus. This means having a desire for the person to experience God. You want them to know the reality that He is better than anything else. 

So, with the help and power of the Holy Spirit, you communicate about good news that brings joy and freedom. It’s not an irrelevant subject but a message of light. 

God can work in the person’s life to help them understand this hope.


Communicate on common ground

When you want your friend or family member to experience knowing Jesus, it’s possible to talk about his grace and forgiveness as well as about truth and sin. While communicating about the gospel in this way, you don’t look down on the person but have kindness.

Think about where the gospel meets a deep need, even your own needs. For example, every person needs someone who is able to bear all cares and concerns, giving rest (Matthew 11:28). Jesus is the perfect friend to come to in prayer. Sometimes, a spiritual conversation might feel awkward, but relating to the needs of others places you on common ground. 

The caring approaches to these conversations are applicable whether you’re talking to someone who doesn’t know Jesus or a Christian who is struggling. Leading with compassion and empathy, you can talk with a friend or family member about the gospel in a way that is respectful and helps them.