Thursday, July 12
Called to Confess
Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.
"God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God." Now, I like to believe that God abides in those who love God, even when they fail to witness to Christ. But we can't throw this verse (and others like it away). So when was the last time you confessed that Jesus is the Son of God? When was the last time you witnessed Christ to someone who didn't yet know Christ? Many of us are pretty good at talking about Christ to other Christians. But many of us also shy away from talking about our faith at work or among our "secular" friends. Why?
Christianity Today wrote a great article spelling out many of the reasons people are reluctant to witness to Christ, and reasons we should do it anyway. Here is a summary of seven reasons many of us don't witness.
1. We don't think we're smart enough about matters of faith. But matters of faith are not about education or intelligence. Our faith is personal to us. Sharing our experience doesn't need anything but a willingness to share.
2. We're afraid to alienate people. Again, sharing our experience of Christ does not mean we are demanding people believe what we believe. When we share our experiences, and are willing to listen to the experiences of others, magic happens. Christ lives, breathes, and grows in the space of sharing.
3. We are afraid of being made fun of. We might fear judgment, but the reality is people judge you far less than you think. I heard a great quote (it's been attributed to so many authors and inspirational speakers, I don't know who said it first) -- "What others think of you is none of your business." In other words, don't let your fear of judgment stop you from being your most authentic self.
4. We don't see or hear others witnessing. People tend to emulate what we see others doing (or not doing). But maybe you're gifted to be the first. Maybe you're the one to lead the pack and model witnessing for others.
5. We think speaking about our faith will shine a light on the unChristian-like things we do regularly. If witnessing means pointing out the faults of others, then yes, witnessing will shine a light on your faults as well. But as we discussed earlier, witnessing is about sharing our experience of the saving work of Jesus Christ. When we share our experiences, we make no comment on the morality of others' or our own actions. On the contrary, we highlight the impeccable uprightness of the Lord who frees us from the everlasting consequences of our faults. So, go be imperfect. And witness to your faith.
6. We think don't know any non-Christians. In our world it's becoming easier to encounter non-Christians in our daily lives than ever before. If we are students or parents of students, we know there are many non-Christians in school, at sports, the arts, and at other extra-curricular activities. If we work outside the home, many of our co-workers are of other faith traditions. If we are involved in our communities or if we live in neighborhoods, we will likely encounter a wide variety of faith traditions including atheism (don't believe in God) and agnosticism (don't know what they believe).
7. We don't know where to start. It's not that we don't know those folks, but that we are reluctant to open conversations with them (any conversation, much less conversations about faith). Start small. Ask about the weather (yes, it's a thing). You can work up to matters of faith over time.
Narrative Lectionary Text: 1 John 4:15-16a
God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.