In Bible study, sometimes a well-meaning gentleman will use this logic:
If you don’t have joy and peace and compassion in your life, what does that say to others about Jesus?
I understand this sort of thinking. I know we’re supposed to be witnesses to the world about how God flexes His power through us, and often our lack of unity looks like God doesn’t make us any different than anyone else.
But some days — I just want to flip a table and kick a trashcan and race a cop car and jump out a window and tell everyone that I hate my life right now and I don’t really feel like repping Jesus everyday, and that it probably won’t get better if you tell me that I need to be a “better witness.”
I totally get that we’re called to bear fruits and endure patiently and other Christianese things like that, but it sort of shuts down my need to be honest and vulnerable and real with other people.
So then I just fake it, and that’s no good either, and I end up feeling like a failure whenever I read that bumper sticker, “If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” I mean like jeez, I guess not if you put it that way.
The whole “trying to a Christian” can get pretty exhausting.
I just thank God for people who can handle my insane neurotic twitchy craziness and never flinch at me. Those understanding types know we’re trying to get it right like everyone else, and we can fail at that, and there should be breathing room, and God gave us the biggest breather of all called grace.
I also thank God every time I can witness — because when I really witness, I’m not even trying. I don’t know how to make a good impression or to “try” to be a Christian. You might as well ask me to blend in with a pack of giraffes.
Instead I randomly start talking about Jesus like I can’t help it, and his joy and peace and goodness sort of bubble out of me like I’m talking about the first time I met my long-lost brother or saw a great movie or had that amazing meal in a tiny unknown diner. People see I’m growing in fits and spurts and that I mess it up and I’m a regular guy who has a unique relationship with who I really believe is the greatest love in the universe.
This way, we’re not pushing each other around into becoming evangelical salesmen. We’re just sharing something very dear to our hearts. It’s not that easy and it still takes courage, but when we can quit all the manipulative machine tactics, I think we’re liberated towards both the freedom and desire to be real about how faith actually works.
I hope we can just relax on all this pressure. I know the good intentions behind saying, Be a good witness or you’ll bring down Jesus. But I think God can take care of his own reputation. When I stop worrying about my own, God gets lifted up from that. He’s glorified through our honesty. It’s in honesty that we meet His grace.