Faith Fix: How Will They Hear? (ATP)
Almost every time I try to witness to someone, they bring up the fact that Christians don’t agree with homosexuality. I am sometimes able to convince them that we don’t hate people, but that we don’t agree with the lifestyle. I find this to be the hardest part about witnessing; not because I believe this or any other sin is ok, but it seems near impossible to convince people without using scripture, which they don’t believe in. My question is, how do I respond to someone who’s issue is they don’t believe the Word in the first place, whether on this topic or about any other sin? How do I even begin to effectively witness to someone?
Maybe the most frustrating thing once you discover truth, is taking that truth to the world. You have the answer, you know the way, and you try sharing it with others only to be rejected and ignored. This is the life of a believer.
As a pastor, this couldn’t be more true. Sometimes while I ponder my life’s work, I am tempted to be brought down because of the above truth. I deal with mainly “believers”, and yet so often they reject or downright hate what I’m telling them. People, Christian or not, have a tendency to lean toward convenience and dismiss that which crucifies the flesh. We all struggle with this because we are human. I live my life helping people with theirs, according to truth that God established, and yet will often find people hating me for it. More than once I have thought, let someone else do it. Then I remember.
I remember that for the many who will reject what you say, there will be some who embrace it. I did, you did. Out of maybe hundreds I have ever witnessed to that refuse it, I can point to some who ran with it and their lives forever changed. Look at it like this. If you were mining for diamonds, you will dig deep into the earth as the most precious and valuable are never laying on the surface. Out of tons of dirt and rock one may remove from the ground, only a minute amount will be desirable at all. Even once you find the most precious, they are only in their rough form, needing lots more work to become priceless. So is witnessing. Most you ever share your faith with will reject you, they did with Jesus himself. You however, are looking for diamonds. You keep looking because what you’re looking for you cannot put a price on.
Immediately, when I read this question, this scripture came to my heart, 1 Peter 3:15. It says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” There are several parts to this that should be considered. First, sanctify the Lord in your hearts. To be sanctified is to be made holy, or you could say set apart. The first step in effective witnessing is setting God apart in our heart. He has to be precious and special to us before we will ever make Him so to others. He can’t just be merely another part of your life. You must be excited and stirred, with a true understanding of what He has done for you. A tragedy in our faith is that there are many who live defeated because they don’t embrace the truth, and therefore project that on God and to the world. The world doesn’t want a God that simply adds rules but doesn’t really do anything good and truthfully, I can’t blame them.
Secondly, in the Amplified Bible, it goes on to say, “have a logical defense.” Sadly, many Christians never take the time to really understand their faith. I ask myself constantly the questions about my faith that others might ask. Then I ask the Lord, seek scriptures, and listen to commentaries to find the answer. When asked, I then have a logical defense. As far as the question specifically of homosexuality there are some ways you could approach this. Number one, the majority of the Bible is not about what sin not to commit, rather it’s about how to find and get closer to God. I would start here, and then go on to say that there are many things that the Bible calls wrong but it is because of their destructive nature and not because God doesn’t want us to enjoy life. I would turn it around with things like what Psalms 16:11 says, “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Talk about how God wants only good for us and then share the wonderful things He has done in your life.
The truth is, that may not be enough. Some people will never let you get past that one thing. Some will just desire to argue or simply hate you for it. I have had people go from loving me greatly one second, finding out that I’m a Christian (without me even witnessing), to downright hating me in the next. In such cases, you will not be able to change their mind. The only thing that you can do at that point is pray for them.
I want to point out something more about the above scripture in 1 Peter. Directly after we read vs 15, it says some interesting things. 1 Peter 3:16-17, “having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” First, we are told to have a logical defense, then immediately after that we will probably see persecution. This is the persecution and often the cross we are told to bear. As hard as it may be to feel this or deal with it, we need to hold onto the fact that their are special blessings for Christians who endure this type of suffering. Blessings set apart that can be received no other way.
The heart of all that is said here is the same heart that God has. Be willing and ready to share with anyone at any point because this may be their only opportunity. If we are faithful to this, God will use us to get every precious diamond that is possible. Witness from your heart, but understand your faith. Don’t premeditate exactly what you will say, but get full of God so that when the time comes, you will do so rightly. Great fruit (many coming to the Lord) and great blessing will come your way. You never know when you will be the example of Jesus that someone needed.