Would if I’m a bad witness?
Has that ever been your fear? You’d like to witness more, but you’re afraid you might do or say something that would then make a person think poorly of the faith.
I don’t have any bumper stickers on my car right now, but I remember thinking once about getting a fish or something of the order. One of the concerns that jumped into my head- “Would if I cut someone off or I do something that upsets them. Then what will they think?”
Well, there are definitely some people out there looking for this. Just google “Christian hypocrites” and you’ll find a number of rants. You can even find articles that talk precisely about such bumper sticker hypocrisy that I mention in articles here or here.
Can we let such arguments dissuade us? I hope not. First, there’s something in these criticisms that should make us pay a little closer attention to our conduct, to make sure that our actions, whether they’re also labeled with a bumper sticker or Christian t-shirt or not, do help people see a little bit of Jesus that day.
At the same time, we have to acknowledge that sometimes our actions will betray us. We are hypocrites in the sense that we say we want to do good, but evil often is right there with us, but as with Paul (Rom. 6), we praise God that he’s rescued us and brought forgiveness to us even in this condition that we Lutherans call being sinner and saint.
In some ways, being up front with others about your struggles can help them see Christ. They’ll understand that you’re real and not trying to convince them that everything will be perfect once Jesus is part of life. They know that’s simply not true.
So sure, some people will be looking for your mistakes, but with the majority of people you’ll be interacting with, you can’t let these fears paralyze you. They’ll see you struggle, but they’ll be thankful that they also get to see you talk about forgiveness.