“How do you find forgiveness?”
This was a question my neighbor asks while we visit at the poolside on a spring day.
While our kids are splashing, shouting, screaming, laughing and diving into the water, my friend talks with me about deep issues of the heart.
How did we get to this point?
How did I earn the right to share my faith in Christ with my friend?
1. He is my friend.
We laugh and talk about life over a cup of coffee. Our kids play together.
We also have a history of sharing concerns and preoccupations.
In other words, we are friends.
We are friends who share life together. He is not my evangelistic project.
I know that sharing faith in the context of genuine friendships has the deepest impact in making life change.
2. I’ve prayed for him.
As a habit, we have regularly prayed for him, his wife, his kids, as well as all of our neighbors.
We pray specifically that they would experience spiritual thirst and that God would give us the eyes to see those conversational opportunities.
I was sensitive and alert to the moment when his thirst was expressed in the form of his question.
I know that sharing faith will not happen unless we have prepared the way in prayer.
3. Our faith is visible to him.
Our faith is visible without being obnoxious.
For example, we celebrate birthdays and anniversaries together. They’ve given us permission to publicly pray with them at such events.
We invite them to church on a regular basis, as well as to other church gatherings like picnics and community service opportunities.
- how we do family devotions as parents,
- talk about the Bible with our kids, and
- testimonies to how God answers our prayers.
Our faith is not hidden as private matter behind close doors. It’s part of who we are.
Our faith is visible and open for examination. Sharing faith is not revealing a secret about who we really are.
Sharing Faith is easy in the security of relationship
It was earned.
It was easy to share my faith that day at the pool side.
In the security of a authentic friendship, he felt comfortable asking me a deeply spiritual question.
Because we had been walking together in life for several months, I had earned the credibility to potentially speak into his life.
This day at the poolside, he gave me permission to share my faith, particularly about his question on forgiveness.
I shared my faith in Jesus, how I encountered forgiveness in Jesus, and how I knew that I had been reconciled to God.
It wasn’t a scripted monologue, but a two way conversation between friends about my faith and his search for forgiveness.
At the end, his last question was
“How can I have this like you have it?”
That day, after hearing the good news, he asked God to forgive him.