How Not to Give a Witness
Last post I talked about the importance of giving a witness talk or testimony on a retreat or as part of your presentation because it is a change-oriented approach. The purpose of a testimony is to model what conversion to Christ looks like in the real world so your hearers can be assured that change is possible and real.
But there are bad ways to give a testimony, and some of them are pretty subtle. I wanted to address these right now before we move on to another aspect of teaching for conversion. Of course, I don't really do "subtle", but I do sarcastic really, really well.
And so here it is, if you want to give a bad testimony, follow these rules:
Bearing False Witness
- Talk mostly about your horrible (and exciting) sinful life. Out of an hour talk take 55 minutes to go on and on about how crazy-awesome-destructive your life was without Christ. Glorify the sin. Talk it up a lot. Make sure everyone is drawn into how depraved your life was and then, at the very end, mention how you met so-and-so who talked to you about Jesus and you stopped all that.
- In the post-conversion part of the talk, make yourself seem perfect. Your past is over and those sins and bad habits do not trouble you an ounce. In fact, you're probably canonizable.
- Get into the details of sins- time, place, names. Paint us an elaborate word-picture of your trip to Cancun, and leave nothing out for the sake of decency or appropriateness.
- Give the same talk regardless of who the audience is. Everyone loves a memorized, canned talk!
- Make it as emotional as possible. If they aren't crying, you didn't do it right.
- Finally, treat a testimony like you are going to confession, because a group hug is the same as thing as absolution.