31 Dec 2011

Consistant Good Behavior Is Your True Witness

Submitted by Stephen Winters
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I'm not a fan of In-Your-Face Christianity in any form. True witnessing involves our consistant daily behavior over a long perion of time. Any words (and keep them few) are only validated if they follow our long and consistant behavior of acting with true love, honor, virture, truth, etc. both in our lives and towards others.
What prompted this blog entry was a picture I saw posted. The picture was really two pictures in one. On the left side was a large group of people (possibly Muslims) all kneeling with their faces almost touching the ground. On the right side of the picture was a football player on one knee (presumably) praying.

One might ask, "Is the football praying that God's will be done, or that God will be glorified, or ..." If that  the prayer was about, then why is he praying in public before many thousands of people?

I wonder what Jesus meant when Jesus said,

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Matt 6:5-6 .

I wonder why so many Christians want to do their praying in public. Taking that question a step further, why do they want to force other people to see and watch their prayers in public? What is the purpose of making other people watch their prayers? Prayers can be done at any time and any place. Prayers can be said quietly in one's own mind. Why some Christians think that they need to force other people to see or listen to their prayers. Let's go back to Matt 6:5-6.

For a many years I've been pondering why people pray in public. If it is to "be a witness" or "to give glory to God", there is a better way:

"Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God....." 1 Peter 2:11-15

I've learned from experience that even the "worst sinner" can smile and look good "in the moment". It's only  as people see how we live our lives through normal daily tasks, as well great trials, that people begin to see a difference. "Preach the gospel always, sometimes use words" St. Francis of Assisi. Through our daily habits, actions, and behaviors we are ALWAYS preaching something. People watch and evaluate our behavior far more than our words.

I believe that modern day Christianity is far from the original simple faith that was displayed by Christ and taught by the disciples, which can see summed up as:
Love the Lord with ALL of your heart, mind, & soul
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Love fulfils the Law completely.

I'm 60 years old. Every since I was a child I have seen all forms of Christian "witnessing". For many years I watched Billy Graham's Crusades, Jimmy Swaggart, Kathryn Kulman, and other famous TV preachers. For many years I've listened to "Christian radio preachers. I once took a Master Life course which  involved "creating a personal testamony" for witness which involved writing some words about what God had done in my life. At that time I didn't have much to say, so I just wrote out a bunch of words that (supposedly) sounded good, but there wasn't much of value to what I wrote. Through all that time I was not living a life worth of calling myself a son of God. It was only ater God took hold of my life, through some pretty extreme and extended circumstances, that God impressed upon me the importance of living a godly (virtuous, honorable, truthful etc) life. It was only after than that my life changed.



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