We all find ourselves in situations where we are uncomfortable. One that is particularly difficult is when we want to share our faith with others who are on a different wave length. When the AA folks say "just tell your story" that becomes a very non-threatening way to break the ice, but the question is always, when to do so?
I have found that God presents us with opportunities daily, but there are times when it is more important to let a relationship have time to develop before we tell a story or share that faith. It is not necessary to introduce ourselves as "Hello, I am Dave a recovering addict" or "Hey, I am Mary and Jesus is my man". All true, but you may lose lose your audience real quickly.
We need a filter of love and that is provided by God's Holy Spirit. The fruits of that Spirit are always, love, patience, kindness, goodness, not ever a spirit of I did this and you need to do it too. Every human being is different, and if we look at the way Jesus handled a wide variety of folks, he was a master of building a quick relationship.
With the woman at the well, he lowered himself to her level to begin a conversation. With his apostles, he was patient and taught through stories that were never insulting. His filter was always the message of His father that was all inclusive, never exclusive. He demonstrated every fruit of the Spirit.
When you meet someone and you feel like it is a "God thing", take your time, listen more than speaking, hear where they are, and when the Lord prompts you to respond or spread His news, be confident but never condescending. Use your filter, and what will come out will be freshly brewed love, and the other person will see clearly that your interests are their best interests.
After all, telling someone how you overcame darkness and showing them the way to eternal joy is truly the greatest way we can give back the gift of a relationship with our creator. And don't be nervous, God will be present and be your divine filter!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.