I think I can help.
Good News With Skin On
The first thing that is essential to realize in being a “good witness” is to be an example of what good news ‘looks like’. In other words BE good news with skin on.
Unfortunately, many Christians have developed the idea that being a good witness is having the ability to academically or intellectually ‘defend’ their belief in the existence of God.
The Good Witness
The Greek word for ‘witness’ is martyr. A good witness was one who was put to death rather than deny his or her faith.
The chances are slim that you will be put in the position of giving up your physical life to be a good witness…especially with one of your friends. However…
…let me make a very practical application of being a good martyr that will go a long ways toward giving your friend new life.
In the case of respecting and reaching your agnostic friend, I suggest you die to your own right to be right.
If there’s anything that motivates us as self protecting, opinionated humans, we are good at digging in our heels to defend our right to be right. We are so automatically accomplished at playing defense, that we can ‘feel’ each other bristle when ‘our facts’ are challenged. Add ‘God beliefs’ to the mix, and we have a potentially toxic formula.
Before You Misunderstand Me
Being right in your belief in God is not at issue here. It’s the I’m right attitude that shuts down a respectful, and potentially productive conversation. Did you know that we can ‘smell’ and ‘feel’ each other’s heart attitudes? It’s a super power that everyone has.
To incarnate means to take on human form. God did that as Jesus. We, too, are called to incarnate. In other words, to ‘enter their world’. We do so by listening with our hearts and minds wide open so that we can hear someone else, besides ourselves, talk.
[I don’t know if you realize it or not, but instead of listening while our friends are talking, we often continue to listen to ourselves talk as we form the next defensive argument]
If we depend upon the Holy Spirit’s help, He will guide our impressions for living, loving response, as we listen.
Keep The Conversation Going
When we are defending our beliefs, the actual goal is to stop the conversation. We feel if we can do that, we’ve won. (Or, we don’t have to worry about being ‘bested’ and feeling like a looser…and poor witness). However, the truth is that we usually haven’t won at all. We’ve simply stopped the conversation. That is NOT a victory. We want to keep the conversation going.
The truth that so many sincere Christians miss is that God is love and therefore drawing a person to the reality of God starts with simple (yet profound) demonstrations of authentic love. The love of God, fully demonstated and empowered by the Holy Spirit has the ability to cast a bright inner light on Jesus.
Your academic doctrine of salvation doesn’t have the power to convert anyone. But, demonstrated love does.
Did You Know?
The Holy Spirit doesn’t need your academic intelligence to win! He needs you to demonstrate God’s love in your attitude and respect.
The longer you can keep the conversation going – either at the moment or through leaving the door open for the future – the greater amount of time to saturate your neighbor with the penetrating power of God’s love.
The demonstration of loving respect has a power unequaled by academic, doctrinal arguments. The greatest witness is the supernatural energy of God’s grace through your skin. You can be God’s love extended.
God is love, not an argument of theological defense. The witness starts with God, Himself (as Love). It’s a mystical truth. His love demonstrated through a humble vessel is like a flame to the wax of a candle. It melts every argument and kindles a living light that illumines one’s heart.