Monday, January 15, 2007

Witnessing

Last year our chuch went through a witnessing "how-to" book of sorts. There was 7 easy questions on how to lead any conversation to the topic of being saved my Christ. I have to admit I wasn't too thrilled about it. I let the guilt monster creep in during the time we studied this book, thinking of all those witnessing opportunity I had let pass me by. I am one of those people that just doesn't like a confrontation so rather than interject I often times just shut up and pray. Pray that someone will witness to them. I'm sure those are the times when God just shook His head and felt like flicking my on the forehead and asking, "why do you think I put you here!?" I'm working on it, but also know that if I offended someone and they got heated that my natural ability to start perspiring and then pass out probably wouldn't be so impressive either. I would much rather stay in the safety net of my little circle of Christian friends, chatting about how wonderful God has been to us, sharing our tales of His grace, letting our kids play together with their little Christian buddies and go to their Christian activities. This has to be the way to stay clean and fresh in Him. My mom always said that the white gloves don't rub off on the dirt, the dirt will soil my gloves.

In college I made my way through by being one of those pushy telemarkers that call during supper time and won't take no for an answer. After awhile, I grew calloused to all the rude remarks and it was was just all about the sale, the final reward. I wasn't face to face with anyone and they didn't know me or I them, so it really didn't have any personal effect on me. And to me that is what it felt like with this random door to door, walking up to people in the store witnessing. It felt like it was only for the goal of doing something. The book mentioned that most nonbelievers here the message an average of 7 times before accepting Christ. So not to worry abou the results just try to be one of those 7.

But when I look at the life of Jesus he was a social man. He was amongst the sinners. Even with the Samaritan woman at the well. The well was a common place for people to gather and these were people that most Jews would have done everything in their ability to avoid. They were socially, racially and religiously beneath them. And a woman? They had little value in that time. Jesus was a rabbi, and she was (in polite terms) immoral. He however did not discriminate, but lovingly talked with her, accepting her right where she was. How much power is there just in praising? There is a lot. How much more power is there when even 1 sinner comes home to Christ, the Bible says the Angels rejoice. Does this mean that I need to head out to the local bar and start preaching? No, but it does mean for us as Christians to make our selves appealing and available to non Christians. How can they want what we have if they don't know what it is we have?

I also feel that there is a time for explaining God as our savior to people. I feel like it needs to be relavant, loving and timely. I have always been impressed with the Jehovah Witnesses and their desire and perseverance to reach the lost. But I also know that most people while are nice at the door reject them and make fun of them when the door shuts. I don't want my seeds to fall on the hard soil, I want them to fall on the fertile ground and know that it has taken root and growing a healthy life. Jesus already knew everything about this woman at the well and knew the unquenchable thirst of her heart. He knew what to say to be able to reach her because He knew her.

So how do we start? A simple hello, smile, wave. Maybe having a lady new to the neighborhood into our home for coffee. That would be much easier for a non Christian than for them to come to church with us. Just because the activities we are involved in are not specifically religious ones, our time is not wasted in building friendships as unto the Lord. The Holy Spirit can work in our hearts and in theirs to let us know the timing and to allow the opportunity to come up at the right time.

I really get a kick out of watching Wife Swap at times. I never know when it is on so if I actually do get to catch it, it's like an extra surprise. They always have 2 extremely different families on the show. And of course they have to live by their rules and then get to impose their own views and beliefs and behaviors on the family for the 2nd half. That is fine, everyone signing up to do the show knew it was going to happen and everyone always thinks their way is the best way to do things. It doesn't quite work like that in the real world though. If I invite the neighbor over to build a friendship with her then start nagging and imposing my Christian behaviors on her I seriously doubt she'll come back or have a good view of any other Christian women in the near future. Is it going to destroy our witnessing if someone comes over and cusses and we choose to keep our language clean? As long as we don't try to make ourselves better because we are Christians, it will speak stronger.

We can find a common ground of interest on someone else's part and build from that. The old saying of "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care." Is so true. I am so passionate about our local moms group that I have stopped ladies in Wal-Mart, the park and the library with young kids and chatted with them and invited them to come and join us for fun. I have yet to meet another young mom (not that I'm probably considered in the young group anymore) who wasn't craving to spend time with other ladies and have some fun, uplifting time together.

Just being a Christian makes us different and that is fine with me. I am guessing that my husband as well as anyone who sees me in public with my kids think that I'm walking a fine line of sanity most days anyway. I am a "Jesus Freak" in my heart, but I doubt that if I invested in a large banner and put it up on the fence that people would stop to inquire how they can be a freak too. The parents across the street would probably request that their kids not walk directly in front of the crazy ladies house. No one would probably come to my next yard sale or the kids lemonade stand as they would fear being preached to or might even be associated with me.

As we build our relationship with others, our secret to our peace, that quenchable thirst filled by His Holy Spirit, our values will reveal themselves naturally at their own time. There will come a time in some of those relationships that we must sever them for either they are pulling up into the dirt or they are the hardened soil and the seed is falling on deaf ears and hearts. Let us try to remember that as we think about witnessing that the life we live will speak louder than the words we say. "Lord enlarge my territory".

4 comments:

Amy Hornek said...

Wow, did I just hear a fantastic sermon? You could so be writing devotionals Suzanne! Thanks for the encouragement and thoughts today as I remember to pray for and reach out to the lost! Have a fantastic day in your neighborhood!

Emmie said...

well this is a very nice post.... and so peaceful.. it really touched my heart... i would love to visit your blog again.... do drop by My Blog as well and let me know if u like it...
god bless ...

Amy Hornek said...

Hi Suzanne,
I'm so glad that you felt closer to me after reading that blog, that is exactly why I wrote it. I can't wait to hear why...
Amy

Emmie said...

Hey Suzanne... thank you so much for dropping by... i loved your comment... thats so nice of u ....

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