‘I’m the only Christian in my group of friends at school and I share my faith whenever I can. My friends seem open to Christian things so I try to give them things that get them thinking about God, like bookmarks and pens that say “Jesus loves you”. I bought my friend a t-shirt for her birthday with a Christian message on it (which she wears) but when I told another Christian what I gave her, she was really shocked. She said that non-Christians shouldn’t wear Christian clothes because they don’t believe. What do you think?’
Sharing the Gospel with those who we love can seem like a slog at times, so it’s easy to get excited when they show even a little bit of interest in the things of God.
If our friends are open to receiving gifts that feature a Christian message, that’s great. Simple messages such as ‘God / Jesus loves you’ and even short prayers and Bible passages can all trigger serious thinking about the Christian faith. The best presents to give are those that they can keep close at hand or look at frequently, such as bookmarks, pens, magnets, clocks, etc.
If our friends show even more interest in Christianity but they are getting caught up on a particular issue, then a book or DVD that addresses their concern can really help them. But we must read the book or watch the DVD ourselves first, to ensure that:
- it clearly addresses their concern – they’ll switch off otherwise
- it’s well-presented, interesting and not too heavy
- it’s consistent with Scripture. The worst thing to do at this delicate stage would be to accidentally give them incorrect teaching
Giving our non-Christian friends well-chosen resources can really assist them in coming to faith in Christ. But giving them t-shirts and other Christian clothing is a different matter.
What we wear on our bodies makes a definite statement about who we are and the belief systems that we subscribe to. When we see people wearing a t-shirt with a Christian message, we automatically assume that they’re a Christian. When we ourselves wear clothing that features a Christian message, we need to be aware that we are ‘on display’ and we must be prepared to answer questions about our faith that others may ask us. If our friends aren’t Christian but are wearing Christian clothes, they’ll be placed in an awkward position if they’re questioned.
In a similar way, although so many non-Christians wear crosses as a fashion accessory, it’s not a good idea to give our non-Christian friends a gift like this – until after their conversion.