In my recent post Why God Needs You to be a Leader we explored the importance of witnessing to others through our actions. However, God sometimes expects you to speak up and witness with your words, too! So what do you do when you’re having trouble witnessing to others?
When people reject the Gospel it’s often because they feel ridiculed. They may know deep down inside that their behavior is not pleasing to God, but instead of acknowledging that, they become angry with the person witnessing to them. God knows this human tendency and that’s why the Bible tells us in 1 Peter 3:15:
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
Tips for Witnessing to Others
1. Avoid a critical tone when witnessing to others. The Bible says that “an offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city” (Proverbs 18:19.) It’s difficult for someone to receive information when s/he is offended. Therefore, it’s better to speak in love even when it’s clear that the nonbeliever is in the wrong.
2. Being kind doesn’t mean remaining quiet. Pray for boldness to witness to your friends even when you’re afraid that they’ll get angry or make fun of you for your beliefs. You never know how God will use your words to help someone!
I experienced this very dilemma at the park recently. There was a woman who was sitting next to me on the park bench. She was cursing a lot and saying how she wanted to go home to drink beer. I tried to ignore her, but God had other plans! When she nudged me, laughing, attempting to get me to join in the ruckus, I could no longer ignore her behavior. So, I smiled nicely and invited her to my church. Her smile faded and I thought she was upset, but instead she asked me, “What did God tell you today?” It was great because I took the following thirty minutes to give her my testimony!
3. It’s always okay to set limits and boundaries. You can end any conversation if things get too extreme. Try not to get sucked into unnecessary arguments.
Remember: Your responsibility is to plant and water the seed, its Gods responsibility to grow it!