Last updated on June 30, 2022
How should we treat people who don’t agree with our beliefs? Not just aggressive people, but people like atheists or nihilists.
Most importantly, how do I help and approach my brother lacking in his faith? He turned 18 recently, and admitted to me that he used to be a believer when he was younger, but now he says he, “doesn’t really believe in it anymore.” He seemed nervous when he told me that, confirming my beliefs about his lack of faith. I understand that I cannot force him to become a Christian, but I can try and help him see the truth, right? What are some ways that I could talk to him, and get him back on the right track?
I’ll let the apostle Paul answer this one:
“Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will” (II Timothy 2:22-26).
Paul said you have to start with your own life. If you can’t show that living a Christian life is desirable and beneficial, you won’t be able to convince someone else to become a Christian. Thus, you have to stay away from the temptations of youth and seek out righteousness. You can’t do it on your own but gather like-minded friends.
You also must be careful not to let yourself get pulled into arguments and hypotheticals. People who want to find fault with Christianity often try to argue from “What if …” These are useless pursuits because they don’t help resolve what actually is.
Next, you have to realize that arguing with someone rarely makes your position look attractive. Don’t make arguments that attack the person you are trying to win over, such as by implying he is stupid or didn’t consider his choices. You have to use kindness to show that you care about him. You can’t be in a rush to get him to accept Christ. Think about why he made bad choices and then work on the foundations a bit at a time. Understand that he is going to attack you because to accept what you are saying is to admit that he is wrong. You have to learn to ignore personal attacks.
When he does dumb things, because of his rejection of God, gently point out that there is a better way and that he doesn’t have to live a miserable life.
Thank you for your help.