The balance of friendship with and witnessing to unbelievers.

4 Sep

This is a really big topic for me.  I struggle in coming up with a clear definition of how this can look in the life of a believer, but especially in *my* life.

We know that Jesus sought out to witness to sinners.  He says “Is it not the healthy who need a physician, or the sick?” And we can account for numerous other times when the Pharisees were accusing him of wrong-doing for eating, drinking and socializing with sinners.

The great commission tells us boldly to “Go into the world and make disciples of every nation.” That tells me two things about what Jesus wants from us.  He wants us to witness to those who do not believe, and also to spend time teaching and training to disciple them.  Those who were Jesus disciples followed Him and learned from His teaching and example.  We make disciples for Christ in the same way, through example and teaching.

That being said, we also know that Paul warned the Corinthians that “Bad company corrupts good character” and that Proverbs says we need to clearly avoid desiring the company of wicked men.

Here is where I’m struggling.  I feel like I can sum this up pretty easily. We should be purposely seeking the lost to love them, witness to them, and point them to Christ.  Once they are saved, we continue in our responsibility to teach and train.  At the same time, our intimate friendships and fellowship with believers needs to happen in a circle of Christian brothers and sisters in Christ who are walking diligently with the Lord and can sharpen us and us them.

But when it comes to being able to actually live it, it becomes very difficult.

I find it really hard to have the kind of credibility it takes to share Jesus, if I don’t have a relationship with the person.  I mean, sure, I can witness in a number of ways, even to the stranger passing by me in Walmart.  But Jesus was able to walk up to the woman at the well, and gain her trust so quickly.  Most of us struggle to obtain instantaneous credibility, unless we are a prophet and can tell someone all their sins.

This is all fresh on my mind because we went out Friday night with three other people, none of them walking with the Lord.  While I feel like we were able to transparently show our lives in Christ, the company was not pleasant for me.

The conversations ended up on topics that are pointless and worldly. We talked a lot about town pride and sports.  (In context it was boring and idol worship.)

I (in the female conversations) was often put on the “hot seat” to see how I as a Christian would respond. (Examples:  My college room-mate married another woman in July. We were unable to attend the wedding but I told her “as long as you’re happy, who am I to judge. I live in a little town, you live in a big city in New York, your decision isn’t going to affect me.” What do you think? ….  Or, I’m not trying to be pointed, but I’m just wondering why your kids go to private Christian school, but you’ll let them be around non-christians to play sports in the summer.)

And lastly, the atmosphere of the night is hard not to get weighed down or sucked in by unwholesome talk.  It’s very easy for your tongue to speak in a manner that isn’t holy when everyone else is constantly doing it.  Out tongues are a restless evil as it is, and when bad language is being continually spoken in our ears, it is very easy for our tongues to repeat it. (For this reason, I avoid movies, television and company that use cuss words a lot because I use to use a lot of fowl language many years ago, and it is easy to stumble back into if I’m not careful.)

I’m honestly still working on a practical application.  Typically, I like to write about topics that I feel like some wisdom has been revealed to me and I have something not only to practice, but to share with others; however, I thought  maybe writing this would open up some conversation from others to give me some insight and share some of your experiences with me.

Have you been able to successfully balance eating with unbelievers and witnessing to a lost world, while keeping yourself from ungodly company and compromising your own character and witness?  How do you do it?  What tactics do you keep in place?

Or maybe you’re like me, and you have a situation in your life that you’re not sure what to do with.  I’d love for you to share where you’re at on this topic.

 

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