original image courtesy of Chinese subway ad
Don’t Ruin My Witness
“Hey, this guy is not a Christian. Don’t ruin my witness.”
I love Jesus! I think everyone would be better off having a relationship with Him. I love that there are those that have the gift of evangelism and eagerly talk about Jesus to everyone they meet. However there is something about this concept about not wanting to ruin your witness that bothers me.
This phrase has been mulling over in my head for a few weeks now. I’ve heard statements like this for years. There is something very good in it – we want this person to trust Jesus. It was this good part of the sentiment that was hiding the angst I was feeling. With all this said, here are five reasons that worrying about ruining your witness bothers me.
5 Reasons This Bothers Me
1. I am not a tool of the kingdom; I am a child of the King.
We know that Jesus would leave the 99 to go after the 1, but He will not do that at the expense of the ninety-nine. Jesus said He would leave them in an open field, a place where they would be safe (Luke 15:4). Let’s not get so carried away about winning over the lost that we forget the value God has in us who are already His. We are children of the King (Romans 8:14). He wants us to know that all that He has is ours (Luke 15:31). He loves to use us, but that is because He loves to be with us. Let’s not get so concerned with our witness, that we forget God enjoys us.
2. People are never projects but objects of our love.
We can win the whole world to Christ, but if we don’t have love, we would have gained nothing (1 Corinthians 13:3). Love is essential in God’s kingdom. This may be just my issue, but when I hear someone worried about their witness, it sounds like that person is a project. I know there are people we really want to see in heaven, but if you truly love someone, they will be drawn to what you have. Love is the key which opens the heart, so people can hear God speak to them.
3. You can’t control whether people will be offended.
If you try to create a perfect situation for someone to come to Christ, you will give them the wrong impression of the body of Christ. Some of the deepest wounds most Christians have are from other Christians. The point is not to win people to our club but to introduce them to Jesus. People may get offended even if you are trying to not ruin your witness. You may need to ask forgiveness, and you may need to let them be offended. Just be yourself, and God’s love will naturally come out. Loving others is the natural behavior of those that love Jesus.
4. You can’t control whether people come to Christ.
While we are to make the most of every opportunity and share Jesus (Colossians 4:5 & Mark 16:15-16), I think our priorities are a little off by focusing on the possibility of ruining our witness. Jesus says no one comes to the Jesus unless the Father draws them (John 6:65-66). Sharing our faith is like prayer – we do our part, but we also allow God the freedom to do His.
5. Jesus didn’t seem to care about His witness.
As I first began to think over this, God reminded me an important truth… Jesus didn’t seem to care about His witness. The disciples were the ones coming to Jesus saying He just offended someone (Matthew 15:12). He often intentionally offended the religious leaders (Matthew 23:27), and at times intentionally offended His followers (John 6:60-62). If this is the case, following Jesus could at times ruin our witness.
With all this said, the desire not to ruin your witness is not all bad. I think God provoked me a bit with this statement in order to get at some deeper truths. I hope that these thoughts help your pursuit of God and love of others. I would enjoy to hear your thoughts in the comments below.