The hardest people to witness to are family and friends. This is my take anyway. For the most part, I can talk to strangers and people I barely know about the gospel. But when it comes to family and friends, unless they bring something related to the gospel up for some reason, it is difficult to talk without having a nervousness in my voice. I was speaking with my friend Daniel, the youth minister at the church I attend, about this very subject and he agreed. I bring this up because recently a family member of mine mentioned being the most depressed they have ever been, and I knew how to respond: joy is found in an intimate relationship with Christ. I said that (joy is found in Jesus) to this person and went into a full gospel presentation. I have to admit I did so with much nervousness; in fact my voice may have sounded shaky. It was much tougher to share the gospel then, to a family member, than it has been in the past to people I barely know or didn’t know at all. There is a different kind of pressure when it comes to family and friends. This is coming from a guy (me) who has preaches. Preaching seems much easier (though it be a difficult and burdensome calling) than witnessing to close friends and family. Why is this? I have a few possible reasons.
1) Pride. It could be that you (and myself included) have a high regard for self and of others’ opinions of you. You don’t want to come across as a fanatic.
2) Apparent (not actual/genuine/intentional) Hypocrisy. Maybe its because you think you will come across as a hypocrite; maybe they will remember I said something or acted a certain way in a particular situation which is contradictory to what I am telling them now (the gospel). Note: though we be Christians, we still fail and fall and sin, but praise be to God that He provides grace for our stumbles. We don’t strive to deviate from Christian living or duty (though we do because we are sinners saved by grace); we strive to be Christ-like.
3) Awkward going forward. It’s hard because you seem them often and are afraid it will make things awkward between you two. Maybe they start to avoid you in public or reject your phone calls.
Here is some great news, a lesson I am trying to learn and apply myself: We need the grace of God and because of Christ, it is available.
Pray for boldness. We should be bold. Ephesians 6:19 says, “and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel.”
Display gentleness. Peter tells us the manner in which we should talk with others in answering their questions: gentleness (1 Pet. 3:15).
Trust in God’s power and will. God does the convicting (John 16:8). God does the regenerating work in the lives of others (Titus 3:5).
God is with us. With regards to the the nature of your relationship with the family member or friend, if they respond with hostility and reject us we can trust that God blesses us and our efforts (Luke 6:22). We can also trust that God is with us for Jesus said so when giving the Great Commission (Matt. 28:20).