Witnessing like a Christian is overrated.
I don’t think I can take that creepy God stare one more time.
You know the one. That moment in every Christian movie when the old woman leans in for the God talk, her rate of blinking drops to sub-human levels, and she begins to look spiritual.
Her gaze penetrates the audience (and our hero) in a way that makes you finally understand why deer freeze in wonder at their rapidly approaching certain doom, while she lulls you with faint psuedo-memories of warm apple pie and rocking on a farmhouse porch with grandma — who isn’t really grandma but a vicious wolf — as the rain clouds roll in.
Suddenly, you realize this is the reason every Jesus you’ve ever seen in film is German with piercing blue eyes. Those eyes are so holy.
And then, it happens. She begins to witness.
Why do so many Christians get weird when they start to witness?
You don’t have to look spiritual to witness. You don’t even have to think or talk spiritual. Actually, you can witness like an atheist.
Because atheists witness all the time. They don’t witness about Jesus ’cause they’re too smart for all that sissy church stuff, man.
But they rave about cinnamon donuts hot off the vat, with sugary crusts and cakey insides that melt in your mouth, and spiced apple cider that reminds you a bench surrounded by freshly fallen leaves of red and gold is the perfect place to be in the world.
They talk about real things they love all the time. Why don’t we?
If God is real, why don’t Christians talk about him like he’s real?
If my voice fell to a wimper when I asked a girl out on a date, I wouldn’t be married to a godly, beautiful woman today. Granted, I was nervous, but I talked like a normal person with some confidence to give myself a chance at not living with guys who don’t vacuum the rest of my life.
If I drop my voice down into the holy decibels when I talk about God or start sing-songing in some sort of spirituality, it drops God’s chances of standing at an altar next to his Bride someday dramatically.
Atheists don’t do that.
The lights don’t dim. No one stares through to your soul while recommending the Cajun Chicken Wrap from the lunch menu. And to keep from revealing their fanaticism for Thai Ginger barbeque-smothered burgers, when they ask you out to dinner atheists blink occasionally.
But make no mistake, when they find something good, they talk about it.
What Christians do, instead.
I recently attempted to sell a living room couch set. A couple straight out of Beverly Hillbillies stopped by to see it, complete with pickup strapped with furniture that was tied together.
When the man finished asking if the classy brown leather couches he’d just been staring at were “nice” and his wife had finally broken eye contact with the ceiling fan (I swear she did not speak), he proceeded to level at us. With the eyes.
“Do you know Jesus?” he drawled.
Apparently it was his parting finale before he didn’t buy our couches.
Is there a less awkward way to witness?
Do God’s followers have to imitate I-see-dead-people-sixth-sense-kid before we talk about him?
Discussing God should be as natural as breathing when we encounter oxygen, yawning when the lady across the aisle from us yawns, groaning when we get the fat guy seat on the plane, and gagging when we hear Jesus brought up in run-on sentences that involve an extreme committal to not blinking.
How to witness like an atheist.
First, start by using standard conversational flow to your advantage rather than barraging their little fleet in your spiritual-space with a Death Star-like magnitude attack.
Blink. Look normal. No spiritual soul-gazing.
And no matter how tempting it may be to deepen your voice and drop into the holy monotone, try to give the impression you’re human.
I was recently asked how to be real with your flaws without risking that people think your faith is useless.
That’s the answer to how atheists witness.
An atheist would share life — problems, issues, and all — as it truly is because he has no pretense to hide behind. He doesn’t have to pretend to be perfect.
And that’s the secret to witnessing.
Tear down the spiritual facade. Call off the religious barrage. Just. Be. Normal. And. Real.
Like the atheist next door, let them into your lives. Share yours.
Then tell your friends how, despite your difficulties, God’s Word encourages you. Tell them how you know you can trust God in your own life because of what his Word says.
It’s that simple.
1) Open your life to them — problems, joys, and all.
2) Share what God’s Word says to you in it.
It’s the only way non-Christians can relate to you and see how your God can actually make a difference in their lives.
Here’s the best part — you didn’t preach at them.
My best friend gave his life to Christ exactly that way. I shared my life — everything real and God with it — and it clicked that he needed God, too.
My dad’s weightlifting partner in Michigan came to Christ this way, too. Honesty. Plain sharing without omitting what you’d say to your Christian friend.
Pointing to God in the circumstances of your own life, rather than at the person.
Recommend Jesus like you would a movie or a great drink with turkey dinner. The Holy Spirit will do the work. Do you trust him? Or do you think he needs your spirituality to seal the deal?
I’d say he probably needs your honesty and a decent dose of real-ness so people see your God is real, too.
Surely, any old atheist can do that. Maybe even Christians can, too.