How do we help people get past the fear of talking about Jesus with others?
Thanks for this question.
Fear is a powerful thing. It prevents us from doing the very thing we know we should. Many times we are afraid of sharing the gospel with our friends and neighbors for fear of what might happen. Will I lose the friendship? What will they think of me? Will I be able to answer the questions they might raise? The fear of what might happen often keeps us from witnessing. Notice it is not the fear of what will happen, since we do not know what will happen, but it’s the fear of what might happen that hinders us from sharing our faith. Rather than worrying we should trust God, for nothing happens without His knowledge and permission.
It can be helpful for us to identify the source of fear and then address it. Is it the fear of being branded irrational or old-fashioned, or is it the fear of not being able to adequately defend my worldview or offending someone?
Once we can put a finger on the cause of our fear we can effectively address it. For eg., if the source of my fear is inadequacy/inability to provide good reasons for my faith, I can address this issue by devoting myself to careful study of Scripture, theology, and philosophy.
If it is the fear of offending a friend, then it is important to realize that speaking the truth in love is the loving thing to do. Think of a man who refuses to share useful information for fear of offending his friend or someone who refrains from speaking the truth to a friend of an impending danger. The loving thing to do is to speak the truth. “Love . . . rejoices with the truth” (I Cor. 13)
If we truly believe what we claim to believe and are convinced that Christ alone can satisfy the deepest longings of the heart, sharing Christ is actually the most loving thing we could ever do. True love seeks the highest good for others.
The greedy and deceitful prophets during Jeremiah’s time preached “‘Peace, peace!’ when there [was] no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14 ; 8:11 ). These prophets, had they truly loved the people of Judah, would have told them to change their ways and repent. The prophet Jeremiah, one who truly loved God and the people, preached the truth charging the people to change their way of life.
God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (I Tim. 2:4). He truly desires the salvation of all men and God did all that needs to be done to accomplish that. It is we who are now tasked with the responsibility of sharing this glorious news with our fellowmen, for we are his mouthpiece echoing this glorious salvation. When we get a glimpse of the heart of God we can’t help but go out into the world with the truth of the gospel. What an honor and great responsibility! May we be faithful in carrying out this task.