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Afraid to Witness

In preparing for this book, I have talked to a lot of people, and the fear issue comes up front again and again. What makes people hesitate to share their faith? Here are some of the fears that have been mentioned to me:

  • “I am afraid I might do more harm than good.”
  • “I don’t know what to say.”
  • “I may not be able to give snappy answers to tricky questions.”
  • “I may seem bigoted.”
  • “I may invade someone’s privacy.”
  • “I am afraid I might fail.”
  • “I am afraid I might be a hypocrite.”

Perhaps the most common fear, however, is that of being rejected. A survey was given to those attending training sessions for the Billy Graham crusade in Detroit. One question asked, “What is your greatest hindrance to witnessing?”

  • Nine percent said they were too busy to remember to do it.
  • Twenty-eight percent felt the lack of real information to share.
  • None said they didn’t really care.
  • Twelve percent said their own lives were not speaking as they should.
  • But by far the largest group were the 51 percent whose biggest problem was the fear of how the other person would react! None of us likes to be rejected, ridiculed, or regarded as an oddball.

Good News is for Sharing, Leighton Ford, 1977, David C. Cook Publishing Co., p. 15