Shut. Up. And. LISTEN.
Image by NuageDeNuit via FlickrIt's simple. Just shut your mouth. Shut your mouth, and open your ears. Resist the urge to preach, moralize, evangelize, or pass judgment on what they have to say. No, you don't have to agree with them, you don't have to like what they're saying at all, you don't even have to understand it - just LISTEN.
LISTEN to what they're saying to you. Listen to where they've been, why they feel the way they do, what their frustrations are. Listen to the reasons why they reject your religion, and don't try to excuse it away with words from your holy book, or preconceived notions your church has taught you, or conclusions to which you've already leapt (about people you don't know at all).
So just shut the hell up. Close your Bible, put away your tracts, stop hollering about your own moral superiority, and just LISTEN. Ever wondered why atheists are so "angry"? Well - if you'd shut up for a minute, and stop preaching, you might find out.
If you shut up and LISTEN, you'll be presented with one of the greatest gifts of all: the gift of another human being, standing right in front of you, in the here and now, telling you about themselves and their life. You'll receive the gift not of an invisible, mysterious, all-powerful being in the sky, but a real, live, flesh-and-blood person, giving you a small piece of themselves by sharing a little of their life with you. That costs them something: a few minutes of time in the only life they have. If you squander that, they can never get it back - you've wasted a piece of someone else's life. Do you have any idea what a privilege it is, to receive something like that from someone? Do you have any idea what you throw away, when you insist on witnessing at them?
So just shut the hell up. Close your Bible, put away your tracts, stop hollering about your own moral superiority, and just LISTEN.
That's all there is to it.