Monday, September 21, 2015

What's Your Witness Worth?

Recently, I found this little gem in Paul’s letter to Titus…

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Titus 2:7-8

See that? Read it one more time. It doesn’t say “scream and yell and protest so that you opponents will agree with you.” Paul tells us to show ourselves in all respects…to live in such a way that an opponent will be put to shame, having NOTHING evil to say about us. We are to live so that when people try to talk bad about us they realize they really have nothing to say.

As Christians, we know the things that God’s Word speaks against. The short list is found in Exodus 20 and includes “don’t murder, don’t steal, and don’t commit adultery.” There are others like “don’t gossip, don’t lie, don’t hate and don’t lust” that we don’t talk about as often … probably because most of us find them harder to obey.

There are still other things we must pay attention to; things not obviously wrong as murder.

For example, God’s Word does not say “Don’t have lunch alone with a co-worker of the opposite sex,” nor does it say, “Don’t have a glass of wine with dinner.” God’s Word does not speak specifically against lots of things. But just because we CAN do something doesn’t always mean we SHOULD.

Having lunch with a coworker certainly does not constitute adultery. Even so, it gives opportunity for someone seeing said lunch to potentially damage my witness by saying “You will NEVER believe who I saw having lunch together”. (We all know someone who loves to share such juicy tidbits)

Likewise, I can have a glass of wine when I’m out to dinner with friends.  One drink would hardly intoxicate me. Since my close friends are our church leaders, can you tell me how THAT scene would be described?  Not “I saw Kris and her friends at dinner last night.” Oh no, it would sound more like: “Oh my goodness, I saw Kris and the preacher and some of the Deacons and their wives out the other night and they were ALL DRINKING!”

(You laugh ‘cause you know it’s true.)

Is it unfair for someone to think the worst of me if they see me at lunch with a coworker or insinuate that my friends and I are heavy drinkers just because they see me drink a glass of wine? Absolutely!

Still, people are looking to us to show them proof that Jesus is still in the business of saving souls and changing lives and Satan will use whatever he can to make them believe that He is not. I believe that’s why we need reminders like Titus 2:7-8. I don’t know about you, but I make enough poor choices and mistakes for Satan to use against me without consciously choosing to do something that can tarnish my witness….even if God’s word doesn’t specifically speak against it. I want to live so that my opponents are put to shame, finding no evil in me.

So, when given the opportunity to do or say something that isn’t “wrong” but could be “questionable”, I ask myself…

“Is this worth my witness?”

Most times, it’s not.


Let’s Pray

Father God, 
Thank you for the change you have made in my life. I want to live so that others see Your love and of the hope found in following Jesus. Help me to remember that You have placed in my life who need to know You. Help me to remember the value of my witness and the power of my testimony and protect me from things that will tarnish either of them.  Help me to live in such a way that anyone who desires to speak ill of me will be put to shame.  Let my opponents find no evil in me…let them find Christ.
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