Being Vs. Doing - Witnessing
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."1
Some time ago when I was in counselor training, a very interesting thing happened. There were twelve students in the class and at one point our teacher paired us to practice by counseling each other. My trainee counselor was Sue. An amazing thing happened as I looked into Sue's face. Suddenly her appearance seemed to change and in her face I saw the face of my sister, Margaret, who died at 19 months of age when I was only five. I still recall that day how, when people asked me how I felt, I just grinned and told them I was okay.
Sadly, I had been taught by the time I was five that big men don't cry, so I learned at a very early age to stuff and deny my true feelings. I paid a high price for that later in life. But seeing Margaret in Sue's face triggered all those deep emotions that I had long since buried and I began sobbing uncontrollably.
"Why am I crying?" I asked Sue. Mercifully she didn't tell me not to feel that way or give me some meaningless super-spiritual platitudes. She gave me the permission to cry and made me feel safe in so doing. It seemed like a bottomless pit of grief had been unplugged. I sobbed intensely over the next three days.
On the third day Sue was counseling me once again. We were sitting on cushions on the floor. Sue had no words of advice. She just sat on the floor and wept with me. Again, something amazing happened. Sue's face changed but this time instead of seeing the face of my sister, I saw the face of Jesus.
I don't know what you call that kind of an experience and it has never happened again. All I can say was that there was something about Sue that reminded me of my sister and when she wept with me, it reminded me of Jesus. In her loving act and compassion I saw Jesus.
I've never forgotten that experience and it made me wonder do people ever see Jesus in me?
Immediately prior to Christ's return to Heaven following his resurrection, he didn't say to his disciples and followers: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will do witnessing…." He said, "You will BE my witnesses!"
And therein lays one of the major keys for all effective witnessing for Christ and communicating the gospel. Instead of being taught to DO witnessing, we need first of all to learn how to BE his witnesses. As I read on a poster at college:
"The living truth is what I long to see,
I cannot live on what used to be.
So close your Bible and show me how
The Christ you talk about is living now."
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, I want to be an effective witness for you. Please help me to BE one. Help me to so live that people will see Jesus in me; that is, your love and light shining through me, and grant that their seeing you in me, will cause them to want the same for themselves. Help me in some way to BE 'as Christ' to every life I touch today and every day for the rest of my life. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Acts 1:8 (NIV).