When is it Time to Not Witness


Sometimes I feel like standing up for the faith’ will just cause bad feelings and not change anyone’s mind. Is it still worth it? Is there a point in Proclaiming the Truth even if no one is listening?

Jesus said that the world will hate his disciples, or something to that effect. It’s pretty easy to make people hate you with any opinion, Christian or not, if you go on about it enough.

Sort of related to this, I read in the rules of a religious community that its members have to wear a cross, unless they are in a part of the world where they could be killed for wearing a cross. I know they wouldn’t hide their cross out of fear of martyrdom, but they’re doing it because they can use their life for greater things than walking around in public with a cross for a short time before they’re arrested.

What about those of us who are simply not good at dealing with people. In some situations I feel that way about myself, and sometimes I think I’d do more good for Jesus and the Faith by just being quiet rather than speaking up and starting an argument and possibly making people think even less of Christians.

You could carry this to extreme though. Maybe I shouldn’t wear a cross in case I do something wrong then people will think Christians aren’t good. Or maybe I shouldn’t even tell people I’m Christian until Jesus has perfected me and made me just like him. Come to think of it, thats why I don’t have a Jesus fish on my car, because what would people think when they don’t like my driving? Or is that worrying too much?

I think these things are all interrelated. Is there a FAQ on when to be quiet and when to speak up? Or can you offer me some advice on how you appoach this?


I don’t think there’s ever a time not to present the Gospel.


What about when someone is trying to sleep. And they ask you to please, please stop talking about Jesus so they can sleep?

Or what about in a mosque when they’re in the middle of praying?

Or what about standing up in the middle of a meeting when someone else is presenting something and procaliming the gospel then?

Of course not… I suppose then you would ‘witness’ by doing the right thing and respecting the other person. So more accurately, when it is not time to witness out loud by talking about the gospel?


I struggle with this question too. Having been brought up in a strict Catholic background I find I’ve a bit of an inferiority complex when it comes to witnessing as I sometimes feel ‘Why on earth would they want to be like me’ as I’m so quiet during secular conversations because I know little about what they’re talking about. I’m very happy in myself but when surrounded by people who don’t share your beliefs I find it very challenging. I tend to ‘pick my battles’ so to speak when witnessing so that I don’t come across as an OTT Catholic/evangeliser which could completely turn them off forever. I try in the little things to be Christian - not cursing/swearing/gossiping and I might mention I’d been to Mass at the weekend etc if it happened to come up. I wouldn’t mention about being part of a prayer group as they’d think that’s completely insane. I listen to what others have to say even if it’s a different opinion to my own. I would try to say ‘I agree with you on ‘X’ but I think that on the ‘Y’ issue that…’. I’m better at witnessing when on a one-to-one, I feel less threatened and I find I’m more open about being a practicising Catholic. Sometimes I get a prompting to say something in a group situation and if I feel the grace is there I will try to say it. Often I say ‘Well that’s my opinion anyway’ and no one can really argue with that. I tend not to say ‘The Church says…’ but ‘I think/I believe that…’. I find that prayer in the mornings is essential so that my spiritual ‘antenne’ is on and I find that I feel more able to witness with those graces behind me…


Neil Anthony–not wearing the cross in life threatening situations would be in line with Jesus telling his disciples to "flee from persecution."
There are times when what we say has no effect and we do not want to "Throw pearls [God’s word] before swine."
Dublin girl mentioned being “prompted” which is one of God’s way of calling us to do something such as speak out.
There is a similar thread where the importance of remaining tactful and courteous is not thrown out in evangelizing others was mentioned.
There is truth in the saying that actions speak louder than words.


What about when someone is trying to sleep. And they ask you to please, please stop talking about Jesus so they can sleep?

Preaching the Gospel doesn’t necessarily mean orally. “You’ll know a tree by its fruits.” That means prove that your faith is genuine with your actions, which speak louder than words.

To quote St. Francis: “Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words.”


“Don’t cast pearls before swine”.

I think it does more harm than good to preach to people who don’t want to hear it.

In my opinion, it is better to focus our attention on our spiritual lives, and our union with God, rather than trying to convert people who don’t want to hear it.

I think we should strive to perfect our daily duties with our eyes of God, more than seeking to convert people. That might sound strange, since we all want everyone to convert, but I just think it does more harm than good to always ben trying to convert everyone when we should be focusing more attention on overcoming our faults; and it is difficult to be recollected when we are always focused on converting others.

I’m convinced that we would do more good, and convert more souls, by perfecting ourselves and offering up our struggles and difficulties to God for those who we want to convert, rather than preaching to them, or seeking to win them over with an argument.

If we live a good life and draw other to us, those are the ones we should “preach” to (and then gently), but not the ones who don’t want to hear it. That is a waste of time and does more harm than good, in my opinion.


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