Friday, September 23, 2005

Can I get a witness?

I’ve been mulling over this whole idea of “blowing our witness” for God. I recently heard a woman discussing her son’s downward spiral of adultery, lies and complacence toward God. She alluded to the fact that through his actions (leaving his family and choosing to move in with another woman, outside of marriage), he had blown his witness. This grieved her terribly and it made me begin to question what exactly it is that we find so discomforting during these times. More specifically, what does it really mean to “blow our witness?”
If my witness is blown every time I sin, I am in serious trouble. I think if we try to approach the issue in terms of identifying and overcoming our sin, we become more like defendants than witnesses. We are looking for ways to justify our actions or at the very least, to explain them to an accusing world. Webster defines a witness as ‘one that gives evidence’ or ‘one who has personal knowledge of something.’ So what is it that we are called to bear witness to? What evidence are we to share as Christ-followers? If my witness is solely based on my sin, I’m defeated before I’ve even opened my mouth. I don’t need to testify about my sin; my actions speak loud enough. The evidence of my sin is pretty much laid out there for all to see and believe me, if I don’t put it out there, someone will find it sooner or later anyway (a former pastor likes to call these people ‘sin sniffers’).
So if my sin is not the be all and end all, what is this personal knowledge of which I am to bear witness? Could it be…God’s love and grace? Ok, so perhaps I am supposed to divulge my sin (maybe not all the gory details, but some allusion to the fact that I’m not perfect), but in so doing, do I not also express my need for Jesus? I think the greater witness is not that I’m fatally flawed, but that God is not and in my imperfection, my need for His love and grace prevails. So I pose this question to all of you and hope you’ll toss it around a little bit. Do we blow our witness by sinning or by failing to recognize and admit that we need Jesus? I suppose the two are somewhat interchangeable. It’s pretty inevitable that I will sin, but I think that to do so without simultaneously crying out to God for help would be a greater detriment to myself and again, send me right back to the defendant’s chair. No thanks, I’d rather be a witness to God’s love and grace, not a defendant fending off blows. So my prayer for all of you today is that you truly don’t blow your witness. We stand adored, not accused. Cry out to Him, fall down before Him, and never stop needing Him.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It has been refreshing to see your progression through your faith. I think I'm learning to back off and let you figure things out on your own, and at the same time trying to give you my perspective to help challenge you through some things. Regardless...

I agree with your thoughts on 'blowing your witness' yet I also agree with what she said in the course of that conversation. I think what she meant when she said he had 'blown his witness' was that he was no longer acknowledging Jesus in any way. Of course, we all will sin and continue to struggle with that in our fleshly bodies. The difference is that those of us who testify (witness) to Jesus will almost always be convicted of our sin. A Christian who does not admit their guilt, fatal flaws and sin struggles and issues is a bad witness to others about who Jesus is and why we need Him. This gentlemen chose to deny the truth he had once recognized about Jesus and 'do his own thing' with this women he committed adultery with and let her and everyone who knew of their sin think it wasn't sin but just an okay lifestyle choice.

Jesus said in John 14:15 "If you love me you will obey me." Of course I fall short of obedience almost daily, but I acknowledge that I miss the mark every day and constantly admit my failure to those around me who I am a witness to so that I can see I am running the race and striving for a goal of perfection. Though I won't reach it in this lifetime but in the eternal, I can hopefully proclaim that I press on and inch towards it a little at a time. This is what I believe 'maturity' is all about.

Any thoughts?