When Your Fear of Others Keeps You from Sharing with Others  

by Jun 19, 2024Christian Living, Fear

Several years ago, I ran into an old acquaintance of mine. I had recently returned from a mission trip to Africa and was telling him about it. Not knowing if he was a believer, I told him the main reason I had gone was to tell others about Jesus. I began sharing the gospel in the same way I had shared it in Africa.

After a few minutes, he started saying things like, “I’m a good person,” “I attend church,” and “I try to live right” in response to the message I was sharing. Afraid I was going to offend him; I changed the subject. After we parted, I knew that I had stopped short in the conversation. I have not seen him since and regret my lack of boldness.

What stopped me that day was something the Bible refers to as “the fear of man” or “the fear of people.” It simply means that my fear of offending my friend was greater than my obedience to God. In other words, I valued my friend’s opinion more than I valued God’s.

The fear of people is a common struggle for believers who want to share their faith. In fact, fear is the number one reason people do not share their faith. And the number one fear we face is the fear of what the other person might think.

Proverbs 29:25 says it best, “The fear of man is a snare.”  A snare is a trap people set to catch an animal and hold it fast. The fear of man acts as a snare when we have the opportunity to share the gospel because it can keep us from moving forward in the conversation or even starting a conversation about Christ.

When God directs us to share the gospel and stop short because of fear, it is costly, both to us and to the other person. It robs us of the opportunity to be used by God. It steals from us the privilege of watching God work. Also, it harms the person with whom we should be sharing.

When I do not share the gospel because I think I might offend the other person, I am robbing that person of hearing the most important news they may ever hear. My motive of sparing their feelings can keep me from doing the most loving thing possible, telling them how they can know their Creator. So, what seems on the surface to be considerate may be harmful.

I am not saying that we always must share the gospel no matter the response of the other person. However, I am saying that when God provides a clear opportunity to start or advance a conversation about Christ and we balk at the chance because of how we think the other person might respond, we are disobeying the Lord and not loving the other person. Sometimes the most loving thing we can do is to speak the truth in love.

How do we overcome our fear of people?

The answer is simple yet challenging. Again, we go to Proverbs 29:25, “The fear of man is a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” In the context of evangelism, this simply means that when the Lord directs us to share the gospel, we should obey and trust the Lord with the results.

There are two things I have learned as I have done this. First, most of the time I have found that what I was dreading does not even happen. Sometimes the person trusts Christ, sometimes the person ponders what I am saying, and other times they listen and move on. Only rarely do the terrible things I dread happen.

Secondly, even when the good news I share is not received as good by the other person, I can trust the Lord with the situation. Sometimes the same person who was offended later trusts Christ and I was one of several who God used to bring the gospel to them.

So, remember, the next time you face the “

” in evangelism, remember that what you are dreading most likely will not happen. Furthermore, remember that if God is leading you to share, you can trust Him with the situation and results. Trust in the Lord, move forward in faith, and be used by Him to make a loving difference in the lives of other people.