I will never forget something that happened just a few days after I started dating Sarah. The day was Sunday, February 6, 2000 (yes, I’m a dates freak). We had just gotten back to the church from lunch at Wendy’s. She had forgotten something in her car, so the two of us walked back to her car alone. She looked down at a sheet of ice, said, “Ooh, a puddle!,” stepped on it, and fell flat on her back. My mind moved very quickly. I was going to catch her, when I realized that I might accidentally touch her somewhere I shouldn’t, so I let her fall. After all, I couldn’t risk my testimony. Being the kind gentleman that I was, I made sure to help her up right away. I was so nice. I didn’t tell Sarah for a long time…sometime after she had already married me.
Sometimes guarding our testimonies seems more like a prideful venture than a spiritual discipline. We love to tout our testimonies like badges of honor amongst our Christian friends, and somehow we think that our precise level of holiness will draw more people to Christ. Of course, being around the people that need Him the most might hurt our testimonies, so we tend to avoid them. We can’t be seen hanging around the places they hang out, because Christians don’t go certain places. That’s a sweet way to influence them.
Have you ever been asked the rhetorical question: “Well, would you go to a bar to try to witness to the people inside?” I have. It’s inevitably followed by, “Of course not, because it’s not worth hurting your testimony.” For some reason, I got to thinking on my way home from grocery shopping tonight, and I came to this conclusion: my testimony just might not hold the same value as a lost soul. Jesus was condemned for going to the most unexpected places and spending time with the worst of sinners. He had a conversation with a loose Samaritan woman whose lifestyle preceded her, touched the unclean, and even had dinner with publicans in one of THEIR houses. the religious people had a hay day with Him. His testimony with them must have been awful. But He was so humble that He didn’t care. He only cared about two things: glorifying His Father and reaching the lost RIGHT WHERE THEY WERE so that He could save them.
Maybe we should stop hiding our pride behind the mask of a testimony and start loving lost souls more than our own reputation. We’re letting people fall, because we are afraid of looking inappropriate…only these people aren’t landing on the ice of a church parking lot. They’re landing in hell.