Friday, June 13, 2008

Chrsitian witnessing.........3 questions.

After having a few conversations with people this week over a completely different subject, I have found myself thinking a lot about "witnessing".

What does it mean to you?

How would you "witness" to someone?

Could "witnessing" in a certain manner hurt someone more than help them?

Please, tell me your thoughts and feelings on this.

18 comments:

wvhillcountry said...

Steph,

It's funny but I was going to post on witnessing today, but I am just tired. But to me, witnessing should show God's love in such a wonderful way that the person being witnessed to feels the warmth and love of God.

Hidden in Christ said...

What does it mean to you?

let's see... witnessing to me means exactly what it says in the word: to witness to the good news of Christ. but not in that annoying beat you over the head with a Bible way. just like Jesus did it: He showed who His Dad was by loving people. i think its true that they'll know we're Christ-followers by how we love each other. so i'm committed to witnessing through loving people. and then once that legit authentic relationship is formed, sharing the gospel can come later, once that rapport is there. good rule of thumb i heard once: they dont care how much you know about Jesus until they know how much you care about them.

How would you "witness" to someone? love love love and be real and be there for them. ask them what they believe. and then build a friendship and pray the opportunity will come up where you can talk about your faith, as well. never trying to convert someone, just presenting Jesus and letting the Holy Spirit do His work.

Could "witnessing" in a certain manner hurt someone more than help them?

absolutely. like the bull horn guy on the street corner who thinks he's witnessing but he's really chasing people away. or those people who attack other people's faith and use hell as a fear tactic into getting someone to pray a prayer. no bueno. without love we have nothing.

flayed Hypatia said...

Fantastic questions!

Jesus said that we would be known as his disciples by our love for each other. And throughout Scripture, we are told that our only outstanding debt should be love, and that true Godliness is seen in ministering to the fatherless and widow. From this I glean that witnessing is not in door-to-door preaching, but in ministering to people, loving on them, the way Christ loved on them.

Jesus used this pattern: 1) minister in grace. 2) calling people to "come and see" what it's all about, 3) calling people to "come follow me" (in our case, "follow me as I follow Christ"), and finally, 4) "go into all the world".

Witnessing is, it seems to me, discipling. It's really easy to have a conversation at somebody, but much more difficult to be a Godly woman, aware that people are watching you and evaluating the goodness of God by what you do.

Regarding what witnessing harms people? I think this is when people preach at passers-by, or when the use hellfire damnation (has anyone truly had hell frightened out of them?) instead of the abundant love and unearned grace of God. People already feel messed up, they don't need to be reminded. They need to be shown that God created them and loves them, and can fill their lives with inexplicable peace. When we sacrifice grace for damnation, then our "witness" damages them. Possibly as much as it damages us.

sane christian said...

To witness to someone means you are giving an account of what is truth. Just like in a court of law. You are telling a person what you have seen, heard, felt, and know about God.
I tell people like it is. I don't believe you should sugar coat things.
The answer to your third question. Over all no. God's word does not return void.

Stephanie said...

Everyone-Thank you for taking a few minutes and answering the three questions.

Hill-"witnessing should show God's love in such a wonderful way that the person being witnessed to feels the warmth and love of God."

I like how you put that. If they can't feel God's love and warmth, why come closer?

HIC- "they dont care how much you know about Jesus until they know how much you care about them."

So true! So true! They really don't.


Flayed Hypatia- "People already feel messed up, they don't need to be reminded. They need to be shown that God created them and loves them, and can fill their lives with inexplicable peace."

Sane- "Just like in the court of law." Yes, I completely agree.

I didn't understand the reasoning to your "no" behind the last question. The reason you said no is because God's word doesn't return null and void? I aree that it doesn't.

Could you elaborate though on how you feel witnessing in a certain manner couldn't hurt someone?

Stephanie said...

Flayed Hypatia- I forgot to comment on what you said in the quotations there in my comments.

I really liked how you put that. I agree, they don't. Does GOD really work like that?

Ceara said...

Good questions so I thought I would throw in my opinion. For what it's worth.

I guess a good witness to me would be someone who backs up what they say. In their life, their actions what they do day to day and when they think no one is watching them. That's when people really pay attention the most. How someone acts when they think no one is watching.

Witness to someone. I just do it. I roll up my sleves and dig through the crap with them. If I can't do it with them I encourage them.

I may get tired, but I'm in it for the long haul. If it's five minuets or five years. A good witness for their cause is in it for the long haul when it comes to another person.

They don't give up. They may get tired, angry, frustrated, a whole range of emotions. But in thier hearts they know they serve something higher then themselves.

To answer the last question. Yes. God is scary to a lot of people. Who is this guy who made the universe? This God has say over my where my soul goes? Can I live my life and still be loved? Can God understand if I don't understand? If those questions and others aren’t answer with grace and truth people will run like they are being chased by rabid wolves.

Sane Christian said...

Stephanie,
I have faith that God knows what kind of witness a person needs at that point in their life.
They may need to be knocked off their horse as God did to Saul, or they may need compassion as Jesus showed the woman at the well.
Both are necessary to get someones spiritual attention.
There is no such thing as a poor witness for God. If a person truly believes in God their life will reflect that.

Ceara,
God can't wade into sin with you. He offers you hope and salvation from your sin. A person can't sit around with people while they sin and say they are helping them out. They tell the person to stop what they are doing and to live a grace filled life.

God is only scary for those who feel guilty. Those who are redeemed through his blood have no need to fear him.

Stephanie said...

Sane-

Is it not very clear that Saul was knocked off the horse by God and God alone, not by man or witness by man?

How would you know who needs to be knocked off their horse and who doesn't?

Are you saying that in this time that you have witnessed to Ceara, that she deserves the knock of the horse witnessing and not the compassionate witnessing?

Also, I don't believe Ceara said anything about God wading into sin with her.

Just as love is patient, love is kind and does not demand it's own way. I believe God is patient with us and allows us the time needed to work through what we need to.

If God is going to convict Ceara, myself or anyone else, then GOD will do it, will he not? Saul was pretty hard hearted and GOD still pentetrated through, did he not?

Ceara said...

SANE--I very rarely reply to the things you have to say simply because I don't argue the bible. I don't know it well enough to debate about it.

I do read what you say though.

Although I wasn't talking about God in my reply I had this thought.

God sent his son from heaven to earth. Jesus did wade through sin, in the form of walking the earth to be among the people.

Is there a more holy place in the bible than heaven? Is there a more sin filled place than earth?

Think about it. Again I'm no bible whiz so I may be missing something but this is just my own thought.

C

Sane Christian said...

Ceara,
Yes, God did send His son to Earth. But it was as a sacrifice. The final sacrifice. Not to wade in sin but to cleanse of people of sin so they could stand before a Holy God.

God took drastic action to get Saul's attention. If needs be he will do the same to get Ceara's.

Stephanie said...

Sane-

"God took drastic action to get Saul's attention. If needs be he will do the same to get Ceara's."

I'm not sure why you couldn't answer any of my questions, but at least we agree that GOD will be the one to get someone's attention if need be and not you.

Sane, it is only God and the power of the Holy spirit that will draw any of us closer to him. I don't understand why you feel the need to intervene.

Is it about power?

Again, your witnessing is not bringing anyone closer to Christ, but it is drawing people further away from Christ. Can you not see that?

You paint an ugly picture of God, one that no one has the desire to see. What good is this to the kingdom of heaven? Do you not see the damage you are causing?

Jesus stopped Saul in his tracks, asking him why he was persecuting his people.

You Sane, are not witnessing for Christ, but you are persecuting. I don't say this because we disagree on homosexuality, but because in the harsh, stab 'em in the chest approach you take with people.

You have mocked, criticized and ridiculed me and others with your one liners and scripture throwing on other blogs with arrogance and pride.

It seems to me that what you are doing is the very opposite than what you say you are called to do.

You have said a lot Sane, your words have been read over and over again by many of us. We hear you, we all hear you loud and clear, we have heard your message over and over again.

So, why continue on? Why not shake the dust from your feet and move on, just as the disciples did? Why continue on, leaving little one liners and song lyrics on people's blog? Do you really think that by leaving song lyrics on someone's blog is going to turn their heart to Christ? Do you really believe you have that much power?

Perhaps this is not about witnessing, Jesus or the kingdom of heaven. Perhaps this is about far more than that.

Sane_Chrisitian said...

Stephanie,
To answer your questions God can use who He sees fit and what He sees fit.
I know by peoples words and life choices who needs to be taken down a peg or two. It's up to God to convict the person and knock them down.
It's up to me to listen to God and be there when the person gets knocked down to help them as God sees fit.
As for Ceara, I have and will continue to direct my comments to her via e-mail. That way she will no longer get the false information that you and others like you give with out the whole truth of God's Word.
It is about power. God's power. We are asked by God to intervene on peoples behalf. I will continue to do so.
God destroys and builds up. If speaking His words damage, then the damage needs to be done so he can build up.
Why continue on? Because that is what God has asked me to do regarding a certain person. I will not quit until God asks me to quit.
I will reply to that person as God asks me to reply. Hard hearts need hard answers. I find it odd that you mention shaking the dust from my feet and moving on when we both claim to be Christians. You will know someone by their fruit.
On another note, I was visiting a certain blog before a letter to God was posted and the 'rescuers' thought they would move in.
It's a breaking down, and that person is nearly broken. Again I will continue until God work with me through.
There are many paths to the cross. From the cross only one to heaven. It is the compassion at the cross that Jesus showed that needs to be sought. The forgiveness, and grace of His sacrifice.
As for offending and coming across as hateful, I apologize for that.
Stephanie, I don't hate, or condemn any one. But if calling sin, sin is judgemental then I am.
If wanting someone to come to Christ means telling the truth and that offends then I am offensive.
But I won't quit. I will return to the blog where I started and just post there.

Stephanie said...

Ceara- I forgot to make a comment about your response. I believe you are right on girl. Thanks for your input, your two cents is worth a million.

Stephanie said...

Sane,

I'm tired. Really. The debating is really very pointless and very non productive.

Regardless of what you think, I am a Christian, there is much fruit in my life and I too believe in witnessing Christ to others and the salvation that God offers us through Jesus Christ.

The only thing I don't agree with is continously pointing out the sins in people's life (what you think is sin) in order for them to turn to Christ. That is God's job.

I don't believe it is our job to know "who needs to be taken down a peg or two".

I believe that sometimes we can get so caught up in witnessing that it ends up being more about ourselves than the message of the saving grace of Jesus and why we need to accept him in our lives.

Again, as I have said from the beginning, I do not discourage anyone from witnessing the good news. Not you, not me and not any other sinner.

As you said so very well....

"It is the compassion at the cross that Jesus showed that needs to be sought."

Peace

Sane_christian said...

Stephanie,
It's good that we agree to disagree.
If our mission is the same, to lead people to Christ then we should be able to put most of our disagreements aside.
As for knocking people down a peg or two. I believe the bible gives examples of the disciples doing just that.
If you like I could give you the scripture. If not that is alright also.

Stephanie said...

Sane-

I am aware of the scriptures where Paul and others are a little more forward and perhaps even a bit harsh with people.

The bottom line, I disagree that the scriptures justify the way you are witnessing to Ceara and others.

We have agreed to disagree.

Stephanie said...

http://unseendisciple.wordpress.com/2008/06/27/and-in-this-corner/