The Responsible Witness

What role does responsibility take in our witness to others?  How can we best represent Jesus to those who don't know Him, but know us?

"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,"
-Romans 3:23

We love to talk about forgiveness, and I don't say that mockingly.  It seems we've all been wronged in our life, and the bitterness we can hold on to is consuming.  The whole idea of this topic is one we want resolution on, but are hard-pressed to find resolve in.

But what if we flip the script on this narrative?  Let's focus, for a moment, not on forgiving others, but seeking forgiveness.

It's our natural inclination to focus on who has wronged us, the hurt we feel, and the vindication we desire, because, in our sin nature, we are selfish.

Let's focus, instead, on others.

Who have you wronged?  Even if unknowingly at the time?  Leviticus 4:27-28a says:

“If any member of the community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands, when they realize their guilt and the sin they have committed becomes known, they must bring... their offering for the sin they committed..."

Maybe it's just me, but I can think back to mistakes I made before I was a Christian, or mistakes I made before I was mature enough to realize it was a mistake, or why it was a mistake.

One of the best things I've found I can do, in those situations, is go back to the person I wronged and apologize.

Why?  Even if it has been 10 years since the wrong, it is an opportunity to share with the person that I've grown, I've learned, and I acknowledge now that what I did was wrong.  It's an opportunity for me to share how my relationship with Jesus has matured me.

If they're a believer, they'll forgive and rejoice with me in the growth.  If they're not, they may or may not forgive me, and they may not even get the growth, but they might.  They just might.

And if they become curious about how I've grown?  That might be a small component or a major catalyst to their own relationship with Jesus.  That matters more than my pride.

Michael Tatonetti