I grew up hearing how very important a Christian testimony was…that other people would see our lives and form their impressions of God off of us. I do think there’s something to that. My concern is about how far should we take this. It seems to me that often others think badly of us, and even of our faith, for reasons outside of our control. I find myself worrying that I’ve turned someone away from faith by my behavior, yet I feel that in many cases I could not have done better. Is this appropriate? How should I think about this issue?
God draws people to himself, we are just instruments. He knows our limitations. We can only do our best and pray. If we do less than our best, we tell him we’re sorry and move on.
I can’t tell you how many retarded things I’ve said or done which may have turned people off to the faith, and usually *not *outside my control. If we fall, we confess it, and get grace to do better next time. If it’s outside our control, it’s still under God’s control.
Thanks. That makes sense. Like I said, I grew up with how important our testimony was being hammered into me. But right now I have various mental and physical health problems. I don’t look it. This means that to a lot of people I come across as lazy or uncaring. I’ve been struggling with a roommate who just can’t understand why I don’t keep up with things the way she does. It’s frustrating me because she’s not familiar with Christianity and I had hoped to show her God’s love…but instead she’s concluded that I don’t care about anyone but myself.
We are all human.
None of us is perfect, that’s why we all need Christ!
Pray,hope and don’t worry!
It is an art form crafted by the Holy Spirit in opportunities. Only being able to spot one can be tough at times. If one is always mindful of The Lord then these opportunities become apparent as they come up. Sometimes only after it has passed do we realize that we missed one…it may be tough to stay on top of things for a time ,but in mindful prayer throughout the day they will come. I struggled with this for quite a while. At first it was scripture, teachings…but that was off putting to many. The Holy Spirit interceded for me once in a big way in reference to testifying. I was in a Dr.'s waiting room and a very young couple were talking. At first I wasn’t paying much attention until the girl started talking about her own early pregnancy. She went on to speak of aborting…I nearly panicked trying to think how I could say something or what I could do. I said a prayer and then noticed the young guy was wearing a shirt that said “ask me about the National Guard”. It was a PT shirt they give you when you first enlist. So I asked him…he didn’t say too much so I introduced to him my experience in the Guard and how I enlisted at 32…then contracted cancer leading to discharge. Both of them seemed interested and I ended the story with “but that is life…you have to give it a chance” as I looked into the girls eyes. She visibly bolted were she sat with a look of deep surprise and thought. I don’t think anyone had said anything remotely positive to her pertaining to pregnancy or even eluded to it. I still hope to this day she thought about it and had the baby. The thing about it is I was just speaking effortestly. I had to think about it afterwards. It was like The Lord was doing it for me.
You will never be able to impress and please all people, and someone will always find a fault in what you do, no matter how hard you try. So don’t aim for that - aim to do your best and to do God’s will.
My difficulty is that there are many even normal things that I struggle with due to illness. As I said, I look healthy and I have often found that because of my age and appearance people assume that I am healthy - even so far as to think that I am lazy or trying to cheat the system. I’m ashamed sometimes to let people know that I’m Catholic, because of all the stuff going on and how people see me. I don’t want the Church to get blamed for the mess I am, you know? And I know a lot of people who do that, either because they think I’m just lazy or because they think that if it were real I’d be happier.
I think this is noble of you.
Do you ever tell people about your health issues? Unless they are a real creep with no empathy, people tend to be quite understanding. Maybe you could give witness in this way and show how your faith helps you in dealing with life challenges.
Sometimes. A lot of times I get told that I’m “making excuses” or “that doesn’t happen to young people like you.” Or if I do tell people, I get my faith blamed for it rather than getting sympathy and understanding. I know a lot of people who have a real emphasis on the “joy of the lord” who want to tell me that I suffer because I don’t really know Jesus properly. Or people just don’t understand, they’ll say they know I feel bad but if I tried a little harder couldn’t I just…?
We are simply supposed to live honorably, humbly and practice our faith…our actions do speak louder than words… and we are supposed to be good examples for others to follow. However not everyone will see our intentions and may not respond as positively as we may expect. That’s okay. We can only do as best we can. As long as we live with honesty and integrity. folks can not fault us for being ourselves.