How can I effectively share the Good News without offending others? In my past experiences of apologetics and evangelization it seems I offend people, they say that they feel attacked.

 

Photo by Alex ScobeeThe first step is to keep in mind that sharing your faith isn’t about making someone else feel bad about their faith, but to seek the truth, to show others how beautiful it is. Make them understand that the only reason you are sharing is because you love them, and you want them to know Jesus and His Church. Teach the truth, but do it in love. The truth should be its own defense, and it is easy to accept when the Truth is wrapped in love.

Some Practical Tips to Avoid Offending:

  • Use your own journey and experiences to help others understand where you are coming from and why you believe what you believe. No one can really argue with your personal experiences or your wanting what is best for them. They might disagree with the way you want their happiness to come about, but nonetheless you need to share it with them. This avoids the anger.
  • Love them.
  • Say things thoughtfully, carefully, and in love. The way you say things, really plays a huge part.
  • Speak without being arrogant; it is of the utmost importance to use common courtesy: do not roll your eyes, interrupt, call names, or speak over someone.
  • Show them that you really do care for them.
  • If you notice that you have offended some one, immediately apologize if it was something that you did. Sometimes at that point it might be best to end the conversation for the moment and pick it up again when the feelings of hurt of had some time to rest.
  • Be patient, it is a virtue and a Fruit of the Holy Spirit.
  • Don’t forget that truth without love becomes intolerant and love without truth becomes an empty shell (cf. Caritas in Veritate 3-5)
  • Don’t make it personal. Many people lose their temper when someone else speaks ill of their favorite sports team, well our Faith should be at the core of who we are and thus it is easy to take their arguments personally. Remember that it is not about us but about Christ and His Church.
  • Final practical suggestion (if we did not mention it already) is to love them, “Love never fails” (see 1 Cor 13).

 

There might be some situations that someone taking offense is out of your control, sometimes people were offended by Christ. However, never use that as a crutch, or shrug it off by saying to yourself “the truth hurts.” We must examine the manner in which we are evangelizing to discover if it is the truth that is offending or us.

In the end, your witness of life and love is the most powerful evangelization tool. If we do not act in accordance with what we are saying is right, then we contradict the very truth we are trying to spread. Talking with a nonbeliever about the Faith is not easy, but there is too much on the line not to do enter into the beautiful dialogue of Truth.

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