Friendship is one of the great joys of life. The Book of Sirach says, “A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he that has found one has found a treasure.” But sometimes when our friends don’t share our faith it can lead to some discomfort. Maybe you want to share your faith with your non-Catholic friend, but you’re worried you come across as pushy. Or maybe your friend asks a lot of questions about your Catholic faith, and it makes you feel defensive.
Cale Clarke recently addressed this topic on The Cale Clarke Show, and pointed to an article written by Colleen Little, When Your Co-Workers Think You’re the Crazy Christian, which explores the dynamics of being a Christian in a primarily non-Christian environment.
Cale noted, “One of the things that she said in dealing with her skeptical work colleague was that she often assumed that this person was making judgment calls about her, but she said to herself that she wasn’t making judgment calls about this guy, so why am I thinking that he’s making them about me?”
Sometimes in discussing our faith with friends we can get defensive, insecure, or feel like it’s going to negatively affect the relationship. But friendship shouldn’t involve hiding a part of yourself or an assumption that important parts of your life are off-limits in conversation.
“Whether you’re Christian or non-Christian, all of your friendships are really about trust and respect,” Cale said. “Or at least they should be. They’re about finding empathy for the other person, and the more you lean into this the more you build a foundation for something we can all agree on.”
“Friends always talk about things that are important to them,” he added. “Did you see this great movie? Have you heard this latest album? What’s your favorite restaurant? We’re so eager to share these things, but are we as eager to share our faith? Well, we’re not most of the time.”
Often the reason we don’t talk about our faith with friends is that we don’t know how to do it. We think it has to be uncomfortable, serious, and evangelistic. But Scripture tells us, “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.” (1 Peter 3:15) Cale explained that if you lead with the peace, joy, and hope that you have found in Christ, that’s a topic that many people will want to talk about.
“Everybody is interested in this,” Cale said. “You may not think so, but everybody wants to be happy. That’s what St. Thomas Aquinas said. Everybody wants to be happy. It’s why they do what they do. No matter what the choices they make are, it’s because they think it’s going to achieve happiness. They may be way off base on that, but that’s why they’re doing what they’re doing.”
Does your Catholic faith bring you joy, peace, hope, or fulfillment? Then why would you want to keep that from your friends?
“We’ve got to show them that happiness comes from knowing Christ and trying to follow the ‘owners manual’ – Scripture, the teachings of the Church,” said Cale. “God is the one who created human life, and he knows the best way to live it so that it flourishes. That’s what we’ve really got to share with our friends, to love them in that way.”
“To love people well is what Jesus calls us to do in the first place. We love our friends and we want the best for them. So we want to give them the best thing we have, which is Christ. We want to give them a relationship with Jesus Christ, which is the best thing going on in this world of ours.”
Listen to the full conversation below: