Core Christian Value
Our witness is most effective if the person we are witnessing to knows that we love them and if they can see “Christ in us”, a person reborn seeking to be like Jesus.
Perhaps the best way to approach this question is by posing the opposite view. If you do not like someone and they know that you have no concern for their personal needs, do you feel you can still be an effective witness to them? Probably not. It seems we must first, where the opportunity exists, connect with the person on the human level before they are interested in our spiritual message.
Compassionate, caring behavior opens doors where inconsiderate and unloving behavior slams them shut. But one could ask “what good does it do to be a friend if the friend we are trying to introduce to Jesus, never wants to move our relationship beyond being pals.” The Bible provides a response.
“Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy… though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” 1 CORINTHIANS 13:2, 14:1 NKJV
To prophesy, as used here, means to teach, to share Christ’s love with others. If the person you are trying to witness to does not sense that you love Jesus and them, then your love is incomplete and your witness will be weak. They will know us by our love; no love, no witness. Listen to Paul:
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 CORINTHIANS 13:11-13 NKJV
The Father wants you, His child, to love Him and to tell others of His love for them. When Jesus was asked, what the two most important commandments are, He answered: “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” MATTHEW 22:37-40 NKJV
There you have it. The two greatest commandments are to love God and your neighbor. Love is the light you bring to a relationship. Your love for God shines through and God Himself has enabled you, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to love people that you could never have loved before you knew God. Since Jesus presents you to the Father wrapped in His righteousness, completely cleansed and forgiven, you will find it very logical to extend friendship and support to His children as well. Then they will “hear” you, whether they respond or not. It is our pleasure to witness, not to convert. Conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of a new believer.
Discuss persons that you have wanted to witness to but felt that they were not “ready”. Then reflect on whether they know you really care for them. Does caring for them mean they have to become perfect in Christ before you will relate to them? Were we perfect in Christ before He came to us? Does it always have to be, “love first, then witness?” Sometimes your love is revealed in your countenance. If you are at peace with the Lord, people will notice. If you have Godly habits, people will notice.