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How can I tell others their religion is wrong?

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How can you tell others that their religion is wrong, and that they should follow the truth in the Bible instead?—Mirry


Shayna Answers:

Dear Mirry,

The best way to tell someone that their religion is wrong is not to tell them at all. Let me explain.

Confrontation and condemnation aren’t usually effective methods of convincing anyone of anything. These methods usually push people away by making them feel unworthy, rather than helping them feel accepted and loved—an essential part of witnessing.

Remember, faith is an individual choice that happens as a result of hearing God’s Word, accepting it, and ultimately allowing the Holy Spirit to dwell in us. Even after hearing the gospel, conversion isn’t immediate.

Faith is a complicated process that involves a personal relationship with God. That relationship will include stumbling, triumphing, and learning to be obedient. This is why, even after conversion, we still struggle with our faith experience. In John 20:29 Jesus pointed out how hard having faith can be by saying to Thomas: “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” And 1 Peter 1:8 says: “Even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.”

As you’re walking with God, it’s your inexpressible joy that arouses others’ curiosity. They want to know where your joy is coming from and why. Matthew 5:16, 2 Corinthians 3:3, and Daniel 12:3 all emphasize what makes Christians unique. It’s the Holy Spirit emanating from within them.

Righteousness isn’t something we can attain or judge in someone else. God understands each person’s heart, including yours and mine. His comprehensive knowledge makes Him the best person to make a judgment about our lives (1 Samuel 16:7). So, even though a person’s behaviors might seem wrong to you, avoid the temptation to tell them so.

First Peter 4:8 says: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” The most important thing you can do in helping someone to know God is to reflect His character. While He was here on earth, Jesus condemned the Pharisees for their sins, but only after they had repeatedly rejected truth, after they refused to change (Luke 11:37-54).

Jesus rarely condemned anyone for their sins. Instead, He loved them first—even the Pharisees. Then, through His actions, He showed them it was possible for them to live a different life. Yet the choice to change was theirs. Finally, even though being a Seventh-day Adventist means your beliefs are grounded in God’s Word, that doesn’t mean we’re the only ones going to heaven. John 10:16 says God will save a lot of people—some of whom we’d never suspect!

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