You want to share your faith, then, shock horror you come across someone who thinks differently to you! It can be confronting when people have different ideas and beliefs, especially when you find them to be totally against yours. Perhaps you’ve come across people that are Christian’s, and their beliefs don’t line up with what you understand the Bible says. What do you do? Sometimes the differences are much more subtle, to the degree that it can be hard to pinpoint how two ideas, which seem so closely aligned, are missing the mark. Don’t worry, this is not a time to panic, or to run.
There’s no set formula or process that can be applied to any of these situations.
I’ll qualify this a little further; you could apply a set formula or process, but then that’s not being guided by the Holy Spirit — and that’s not a great idea. Doing things in your own strength, and not God’s isn’t cool.
I’m reminded of a story someone told me years ago, about people that are hired to notice or spot fake money and stop fraud. They never study fake money. Instead, they spend countless hours looking at the real thing rather than anything flawed or fake. It’s in looking at the real thing, that they easily notice the fake. In being presented the fake money, they would then be able to point out exactly wasn’t right, not because they looked at the flaws, but because they know the real thing.
When we spend hours upon hours, day after day studying and looking at the real thing — that being God and His word, we too, will easily notice the fake. That’s the easy part. The challenge for us, is to not make it our mission to start pointing out all the frauds or fakes, but instead; to be so aligned to the truth that our lives and words point people to look to Jesus.
We change the world, when our lives point people to experience Jesus for themselves.
God made us all different, so different beliefs are ok, and God made us with the ability to choose — so it would be super weird to think that people must think the same as you, right? We have to give people freedom to choose what they want to believe. This doesn’t mean standing back, this means getting involved, to help point people to truth and give them opportunity to see the difference. So, practically how does this play out? Here are 3 possible ways…
3 things to do when you encounter people with different beliefs…
- Don’t freak out — You might stumble over words, your heart might race, you may not know what to say. Take a breath. Relax.
Joshua 1:9 — This is my command — be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
- Don’t get on your high moral horse — That means don’t come across as behaving in a haughty, self-righteous, or superior manner. Something might be totally abhorrent, disgusting, evil, immoral and totally not ok. Remember there is no-one without sin.
John 8:7 — They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”
- Take time to engage — Talk, listen, ask questions, be kind, loving, gentle, patient and have self-control. Seek answers to understand first and take time to engage in meaningful conversation and if you have opportunity, give reasons as to why you believe.
1 Peter 3:15–16 — Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.
The Holy Spirit is the one who brings correction, conviction, and changes hearts. That means, it takes all the pressure off you, and how you perform. All you have to do is listen to the Holy Spirit and obey.
Stay gentle, stay strong and point people to Jesus.