I am so encouraged by your love for your cousins which causes you to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with them. All believers should desire to “win their loved ones to Christ” so they can spend eternity with us and the Savior Who died to save them. I trust you are also depending on the Holy Spirit to guide you in your witnessing, not only to give you just the right scriptures to help show them their need of salvation and the New Birth (such as Romans 3:23; 6:26 and John 3:1-18), but also to give you the grace to manifest the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) as you proclaim the gospel to them.

Regarding associating with them, there is a very fine line that we (believers) must walk before the world of unbelievers. We certainly want to spend time with them to show them the love of Christ (in our lives and by presenting the gospel of Christ to them), but the Bible is very clear that we don’t want to develop a real close friendship with them. Let’s look at some scriptures which teach us this.

In Ephesians 5:1-6 it speaks of various sinful lifestyles that characterize the unbeliever. Then we read of our responsibility towards them in verses 7-12: “Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit in in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And HAVE NO FELLOWSHIP WITH THE UNFRUITFUL WORKS OF DARKNESS, BUT RATHER EXPOSE THEM. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light” (NKJV). Here we see the vast difference between the believer and the unbeliever. The believer is a “child of light” while the unbeliever is still in “spiritual darkness.” This is our new POSITION in Christ, and we are told in this passage to WALK before the world in a way that manifests to them that we truly are “children of light.” We are not to have fellowship with them in their sinful lifestyles; instead, we are to expose their sins by refusing to join them in their wicked ways. We must be careful not to come across with a “holier than thou attitude” and yet at the same time we must firmly, but gently, tell them that we no longer wish to engage in sinful activities because of our love for the Savior who died for us.

Now you may be thinking, “But what if they just want me to participate in innocent activities with them like playing sports?” The problem with this is that we can become so involved with unbelievers that eventually we may be influenced by them for evil. We read in 1st Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.” We may “think we can engage in harmless activities” with unbelievers and become good friends with them as long as they’re not asking us to commit sin, but our hearts are deceiving us. The deeper our friendship with them becomes the easier it will be to let go of our “good habits” and replace them with “bad habits.” We have a very solemn warning about this in James 4:4, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” The “world” here speaks of both “worldly unbelievers” and “worldly pleasures,” for normally it is our friendship with unbelievers that will eventually lead to loving the “pleasures of the world” that they love.

In closing, we should still try to maintain a “healthy relationship” with them by remaining in contact with them and showing them the love of Christ in various ways without compromising the truth that we are “children of light.” It will take dependence on the Lord and the Spirit of God to do this (see John 15:1-8 and Galatians 5:16-25). If we are faithful in allowing the Lord and the Spirit to lead and guide us, we will be a true witness to our unsaved loved ones and we will bring glory and honor to the Savior “who loved us and gave Himself for us” (Galatians 2:20).  (DO)  (538.3)