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In Romans 1:14-15, Paul wrote “I am under obligation both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. Thus, for my part, I am eager to preach the Gospel to you also who are in Rome.” The word translated “under obligation” literally means, “I am a debtor,” or “I owe it to them.” We owe it to those who are without Christ to share with them the love Jesus has for them. Remember, everyone needs relationships! Here are a few suggestions on how to build witnessing relationships:

  • Be real. We are called to care.
  • Find out what you have in common with them.
  • Be a good listener. Use your eyes and ears.
  • Look for opportunities to serve them.
  • Your walk gives credibility to your talk.
  • Your talk gives clarity to your walk.
  • Look for opportunities to plant spiritual seeds.
  • Be sensitive to times of heightened spiritual receptivity.
  • Be patient. Don't give up.


     Without question, one of the principal stumbling blocks the world has when it comes to the Christian faith has to do with Christians themselves, and specifically the question of hypocrisy. 
     And rightfully so.
    The word hypocrite is taken from an old Greek word that refers to the wearing of a mask.  In ancient Greece, actors often wore masks according to the character they played.  Their characters appearance on the stage was a facade, an "act."  Hypocrites, then, are mask-wearers.  They appear to be one thing, but it's all a front - behind the mask they are someone else.
    The only way this will be addressed is if Christians themselves get a grip on what it means to follow Christ, and then convey that authentically to the world.  What is behind many - not all, but many charges and accusations against the character and integrity of Christians is the demand for perfection in the life of anyone who claims to be a Christian and urges others to consider Christianity as well.  This is not, of course, the true meaning of a hypocrite, but even more to the point, it is not an accurate understanding of what it means to enter into the Christian life.
    Yet the world holds us to it, because we hold ourselves - and others - to it.  We fall prey to the charge of hypocrisy because we have resuced spirituality to a list of moral benchmarks coupled with a good dose of judgmentalism.
    The only way to regain our footing is to remind ourselves - and others - that an authentic Christian is simply someone who has made the decision to believe in Jesus as his forgiver and then attempt to follow Him as his leader.  But nowhere in this series of events is perfection or sinlessness.  Rather, there is simply the intentional effort and sincere desire to recognize God as, well, God.
    And then we must convey that to the world.  Authentically.  I am reminded of the words of the great nineteenth-century Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, who wrote in a personal letter,
            Attack me, I do this myself, but attack me rather than the path I follow
            and which I point out to anyone who asks me where I think it lies.  If I 
            know the way home and am walking along it drunkenly, is it any less the
            right way because I am staggering from side to side!
    Simply put, we must stop presenting ourselves as the message and begin presenting Jesus as the message.  There will be disappointment with Chriatians as long as there are imperfect people.  Since all Christians are imperfect, there will always be disappointment.  So we must stop having the message of Christ tied to our butchered efforts.
Jim White