We have all heard a sermon about the "Great Commission" and how we are to take it. Well, all I have to say is that if you haven't witnessed something, you can't evangelize. You can't be an eye witness if you haven't seen anything and you certainly can't be an expert witness if you haven't studied anything.
Watch a show like "Law and Order" to learn that witnesses must have credibility before anyone that wants to know the truth will listen to them.
Before you can be a "Christian Witness" you must have something about which you can give testimony. What I mean is, that you need to have God active in your life, and no longer have Him as just a historical and philosophical figure in your head.
If you do have testimony to give, read on, because some of this will apply to you at some point of your life. I do not know when, I just know that it will.
If you don't have any testimony to give, you may read on if you're curious about what others would do better to do.
When people want to get to the truth about something, here are some of the court-room facts about the witnesses that will be called to testify:
- They can be forced to testify (to provide their testimony) except for the 5th amendment & self-incrimination. No witness can be forced to provide testimony against themselves.
- A husband or wife can not be forced to testify against each other, as an extension of the 5th amendment & a recognition of the uniqueness of the marriage relationship.
- There is a 3rd " reason" for not testifying: the "counselor-client" relationship is also highly respected and can not be compromised by force.
- Witnesses generally fall into 3 categories: "eye", "expert" and "character". "Eye witnesses" testify to what they saw and/or experienced, while "Expert witnesses" testify to what they have studied that is relevant to the case. "Character witnesses" are those that know the defendent very well, and can testify as to whether or not what happened is consistent with their personal knowledge of the accused.
- Both types of witnesses must prove their credentials before their testimony is accepted. Did they really "see or hear" something or are they truly an expert whose expertise is relevant to the jury.
- You can not script the content of the testimony of an "eye witness". They can only share what they experienced, which is of value because it is their personal testimony. Their value is in their uniqueness. No script can determine ahead of time what their testimony can be.
- You can script the content of the testimony of an "expert witness" because what they have learned is what is applied to the case. They can review their knowledge and their facts and present them accordingly.
- All witnesses give their testimony because it is VITAL to helping others discern the truth (exception noted below). The 'whole truth' often needs the testimony of all available witnesses to be found out.
- Withholding testimony is deemed horrible, illegal & hinders the process of discovering the truth UNLESS it is redundant testimony no longer contested by the opposing side. (Often there is little reason to offer the testimony of dozens of eyewitnesses, but at times there is!)
So, if you are a Christian, and you are called to become a witness, you may need to decide what kind of witness you are. Did you witness something not of your doing that you are being called to share so that others can find the truth and so that the truth can set them free? Or are you an expert who has information gained through hard effort that is vital to others in their search for the truth?
Do you need to take the oath of a witness? You know, "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God?"
Oh, one advantage that court-room witnesses have over spiritual witnesses is that those witnesses are only on the stand for a little while. We however, are on the stand the rest of our lives. Of course, our advantage is that our advocate (attorney, lawyer, Wonderful Counselor, etc.) never leaves our side and is always there to help us relax and get the job done.