In just a week, families all over America will be gathering around the Thanksgiving table once again. Some may not have been together for quite a while, so it is good to see people making plans to enjoy this holiday with their families. Too often, it is these events that cause stress for the believer desperate to share the gospel with their friends and family. How does one bring up salvation at the Thanksgiving table without being shut down before the conversation even starts?
Anyone who regularly shares the gospel has been solidly shut down more than once by the people they are witnessing to. It is just par for the course, as they say. But when sharing the gospel with unsaved loved ones gets emotions involved, it can be harder to stomach.
How do we bring up salvation at the Thanksgiving table when we have been shut down with the same audience before? Is there a way to start the conversation without being excused to the kitchen the first forkful hits your mouth?
When You Bring Up Salvation The Thanksgiving Table
The first step in posting a good conversation with anyone about anything is about timing. If you have been shut out of bringing up salvation to your family during the holidays, it might have been the wrong time. Many factors go into your family having ears to listen or not. We have to learn how to read the room.
One of the best ways to have a good conversation about God is to make sure it is not forced. Interrupting a conversation about something else to shoehorn Jesus into the conversation will be met with frustration. Relax. God knows when is a good time. Ask Him to prompt you as to when is the right time to bring Him up and enjoy your family in the meantime. Getting anxious about when to do it is just going to make your jump the gun and get defensive when others object.
One thing that does happen a lot with families during the holidays is drinking. Don’t bring up salvation at the Thanksgiving table if everyone is inebriated. This is not only not going to go well, but even if you do have a conversation about the gospel, they are not in a place to receive it. If you talk about Jesus, do so when your family has the presence of mind to hear it well. If you have been drinking, it is probably not a good time to bring it up either. You need to listen to the Holy Spirit talking to you when you bring up Jesus, not your beer-fueled emotions. Can the conversation until you are in a place to be a good witness. HINT: Drunk Christians are not good witnesses.
The Best Way To Talk About Jesus To The Unsaved
Many well-meaning Christians want to know what just the right thing is to say to an unsaved person that will make the most impact. They want talking points for debates. This does not have a positive effect on an unbeliever. The unsaved do not want to get into a spiritual battle of the wits with you. Besides, you can memorize all the zingers you want. The conversation seldom creates a situation to cut and paste a canned line into it anyway. So what is the best way to bring up salvation at the Thanksgiving table? Ask questions. Do you know what Jesus was good at in dealing with unbelieving people? Begin asking them questions. Instead of wanting to know the right line to rehearse for your next conversation about Jesus with your family, start by asking them a question. Try these on for size:
“What are you most thankful for this year, ________?”
“Isn’t God so good to bring us this beautiful _______?”
Starting with an open-ended question will bring about an answer. The best way to keep that going is to keep asking questions.
“I don’t believe in that God stuff.” Why?
“I am not too sure there is a god.” Why?
“God didn’t make all this.” Why do you believe that?
Seek to understand. Ask to keep digging deeper into the real barriers to God. Chances are, their reasons for unbelief go much further than just never giving God the time. People have lots of misconceptions about who God is, based on events in their lives. Let their conversation happen. If nothing else, you will have more information for next time, and you won’t have caused tension at the table in the meantime.
Lastly, no matter what they say, offer to pray about it. It is a rare person who refuses prayer. Keep praying for them and when you see them at Christmas, remind them that you are praying. It will let them know you care.
Let Us Know What You Would Add To Our Suggestions
Have you had good results with bringing up salvation at the Thanksgiving table or any other holiday? Let us know! We want to share them with our readers. Ichthus VerseWear is all about helping you feel good sharing your faith, whether you wear our t-shirts or not. Email your good suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org