Thursday, 10 January 2013

The Witness

I remember someone once telling me a story. I don't know if it is true or not, but it went something like this:

Apparently there was an individual on his way to church one Sunday who suddenly found himself being cut off by another driver. Road rage quickly ensued and the church-goer found himself racing to come up beside the offending driver, at which point he quickly gave the guy the infamous one-finger salute. A little while later, in church, the pastor asked everyone to take a moment to stand up and greet the people around them, and wouldn't you know it, but there on the same pew both drivers suddenly came face to face once again.

Talk about awkward!

The psalmist once said, "Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with destruction. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongue they speak deceit" (Psalm 5:9; NIV).

Likewise Jesus once said to a bunch of people, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For you are like tombs that have been white-washed, which look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of dead men's bones and everything impure. Just so, you also outwardly seem to people to be just and upright but inside you are full of pretense and lawlessness and iniquity" (Matthew 23: 27-28; Amp).

Sometimes I cannot help but wonder if Jesus would say the same to us from time to time.

Do you ever stop and think about your witness? What do people see in your life? I'm not trying to be legalistic about this, but think about it. Our actions speak a lot louder about who we really are than all the eloquent Christianese that we speak. People around us hear our actions before they ever hear our words. As such, I would argue, our actions are a bigger testimony of our faith than anything we could ever say about our faith.

Some will no doubt be quick to want to remind me that "who we really are" is born-again sons and daughters of the most high God, joint heirs with Jesus Christ, new and forgiven creations, etc, etc, etc. While all true, it is also true that sometimes the old nature still rears its ugly head, and when it does, those caught downwind cannot help but smell the cesspool we've found ourselves in. Yes, we can repent, and yes, God will forgive us. Anyone who doubts that need only to look again at the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11-32).

Still, the Christian is called to be a witness to the world. The question is, what kind of witnesses are we? Are we witnesses that cause others to want to come and know the Lord we profess to follow? Or are we witnesses that cause others to want to call out "hypocrite," as they quickly run the other way?

As for the picture in this post, I hope it's not real, but you never know. It does, however, illustrate my point.

Photo Source: unknown (via Facebook) 

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