Heaven Down To Earth - Words of Spiritual Guidance
by Rev. Paul Werner
Chapter 15 - Witnessing [Part 4]
I will never forget the first person who joined in Austria. I witnessed to one girl for hours and hours. After about two hours I asked, "Well, did you understand?" "No," she replied. "I just know that every thing you said is the truth." I was incredulous! Not only had she not understood what I had said, she could not remember even one concept. I believe she could feel God's spirit vibrating through me and that is what captivated her. It was not until much later that she actually learned and could assimilate the Principle. She accepted everything even though she understood little. She was struck by the force of God's spiritual power and His witness.
People were magnetically drawn to the Principle during my early pioneering days in Austria and in Germany. They were so embraced by love, they could not even think of leaving. One father came over to the center because he felt his daughter was hypnotized. He handed me a piece of paper on which he had written, "I will not speak to you because I am afraid that you will also hypnotize me." I asked him if he really believed that and he emphatically exclaimed, "Yes." Aha, he spoke his first word!
I invited him to go into the kitchen for something to eat and drink. The four or five members there poured out so much love that his "horns" broke off. He was dumfounded and sorry that he had been so mistaken about us and our intention. In the end, he even commented on what loving people we were. He was a different person by the time he went home. There is great power in the force of love; we must learn how to be the channels of God's love, especially when we witness.
There are moments when you probably feel that your intellect is sub-standard and therefore you cannot be successful in witnessing. That is not the important thing: let the spirit of God speak through you and give you the words to say. If you prepare your heart, you will be able to intelligently answer any questions asked of you. It is the power of God that can stimulate people, and that is expressed only through the heart.
When witnessing, arguing with a person can only do damage. A parent does not argue with a child who has run away from home, but rather opens his arms and with love tries to win the child back. Love is the strongest power in heaven and earth. Muscles, fists, swords, and even nuclear bombs are inconsequential when compared to the force of love.
God has entrusted its with a great deal. In a very real sense, we have the lives of people in our hands. We know ourselves -- our strong and weak points. If we are honest with ourselves, we realize that we often waste God's precious time. Every hour, every minute counts; peoples' lives are at stake. If we cannot be a pure and proper channel, we will not be able to transmit God's words. The most important thing to prepare before we witness is our heart; we must make sure that we witness with true humility and remember that it is not us who witnesses, but God.
Season your heart before you witness. When you do that, God can speak through you and you will be able to act as a true mediator between God and a person. Within yourself make sure the central focus is God and True Parents. Glorify God with your words. If you neglect God's participation and only put forth your own strength, intellect, and heart, the person will have an extremely hard time to continue his study of our ideology. The whole secret is to become a true channel for God.
Witnessing is a task which entrusts you to deliver a package with very precious contents. Therefore, you must take care that it does not get lost, bent, or broken before it is received. In order to assure its safe delivery, make sure you use love as the packing material.
If we ourselves are not convinced that the Principle is true and that Christ has come, we will never be successful in convincing others. Neither will we be triumphant in winning back millions of people to God's side. We need tremendous strength and force to cry tears for the world. By touching the essence of God, we will gain the desire to shed tears of gratitude and repentance that will appease God's sorrowful heart. The people we meet must sense that we represent the love and divinity of God; we must convince them that we are going to use those tools to shatter the walls of Satan's world and erect the Kingdom of God. And then we must try to persuade them to join us in our work.
The goal of witnessing is to bring God's children back to Him. They have gone astray, are weary, and suffer untold misery. Search for them as a longing parent would look for his lost children. Satan kidnapped them and God feels desperate to find them; we are commissioned to assist Him.
There may be some members who left our church because of some misunderstanding. Seek them out now and witness to them again. Allow God to stir up the emotions they felt when they first heard the Principle. Love them unconditionally; don't press judgment or cause them to feel guilt. Rekindle the kind of love they felt when they first joined. We must leave the invisible doors of our church wide open for their return. And if they shyly poke their heads around the corner, we must encourage them to enter and then embrace them and welcome them home.
Perhaps this is the time when we are given the responsibility to put on surgeon scrubs and prepare for exploratory surgery. It is possible that much poison flows throughout a person's system and we will have to irrigate it. But if we allow God to work through us, great miracles can happen. After we close and stitch the incision, we must help the person to tend it carefully and make sure it does not open again. Scars heal with time, and even stitches can dissolve.
In spirit world we may confront people who will accuse us because we did not witness to them. They may ask us why we didn't spend more time and energy to find them and impress upon them the importance of this time and the truth of this message. They might accuse us for being too contented with our own lives and doing the minimum possible witnessing. It is conceivable that in their anger, they will express their resentment that we did not care about all the people who died away and went to hell, and that we kept the gift of salvation for ourselves. It is definitely possible and something to think about. Luckily, we still have time to rectify the situation.
It is easy to feel at fault if someone does not accept the Principle. But it is not totally up to you. If it would have been totally up to God, t ' he world would have been restored long before this. Each person has a certain responsibility, and ultimately chooses how he will reply. of course as a person God is using to witness, you have a major role. You must generate as much wisdom and spiritual power possible to assist a person to make the correct decision.
Remember that meeting the Principle through you may be the person's only chance to be exposed to God's will. Be serious about witnessing; share with a person your sincere feelings about the Principle. Tell him that you feel a responsibility for him. When you can do that, God can give the person spiritual confirmation that He is the one concerned about him. The important thing is not to threaten a person. Once you do your part, it is up to him. He must make a decision on the basis of what he has heard and what you have given him.
There is no greater responsibility than to win somebody for God.
If you have a goal to run one hundred miles, then you must run that distance in order to achieve your objective. It does not matter if you go slow or fast, if you set out to break a record or run backwards -- the goal will not change. You may sit and look down the long stretch of road before you; spring may change to summer, summer to autumn, and autumn to winter, but even if you have not moved more than a foot or two, those hundred miles still exist. No amount of praying and hoping will make them magically disappear. You suffer year after year. Because you know that you must somehow run one hundred miles, why not start moving immediately?
Every person to whom we witness will profit in some way. It is natural for us to pray that a person will derive the greatest benefit from the Principle and perfect his relationship with God. Yet even if the person cannot accept such a responsibility at the moment, through witnessing we at least enlighten him and inject him with positive elements.
Perhaps a person agrees with what you are saying but claims he does not want to become involved in organized religion. The best thing to do is encourage him to listen and just incorporate these principles into his thinking. Assure him that he does not have to commit himself by joining anybody or anything, and that your intention is to help widen his horizon. Talk to him straight, one human being to another. Many people have lived disappointing lives and have been batted around by Satan. A person may not immediately divulge the pain he has endured, and you may feel nothing you are saying is affecting him, but never underestimate the power of the Principle. Sometimes it packs an invisible punch, straight through the steel door of a person's heart.
When we proclaim God's will to people, they will draw closer to Him. If they are ignorant of His will, it is impossible for them to work toward accomplishing it. Father is teaching us so many new things directly pertaining to the will of God. We may have known the gospel of Jesus or the precepts of many other religions, but the real will of God has never before been revealed to humanity.
There is a well-known adage that pertains to our responsibility to witness: love isn't love until it is given away. Likewise, until we share this invaluable gift, it is not ours.
For thousands of years people have tried to convince others that God exists. Furthermore, people went on to claim that God is a beautiful, loving being and it was to their advantage to personally connect with Him. Such words must have reached the cars of numerous people, yet many still disbelieve. They cry, "Look at the world. The world is not beautiful or loving. It is so different from what you describe about God. How could a kind and loving God make this kind of world?"
But the more we witness, the greater the number of individuals can understand God's will. When they strive to become God-abiding, God-loving people, the realm of goodness will continue to expand. When looked at in this light, we can see how great our undertaking is!
When you witness, go out with confidence that the Messiah backs you. No one else may ever witness to the people you meet. True Father will not talk to them personally, therefore as his representative, you have the responsibility to share this truth with them. You are the arm of the Messiah; you may be their only contact.
Now is the time to represent God and True Parents through witnessing. If you forfeit this opportunity, people may accuse you in the future. They may claim that you were not serious enough and did not make a strong enough impact to encourage them to change their lives. Let them recognize the urgency of the time and don't be afraid to share with them the news of the return of Christ.
The person who has been prepared by God will respond. There will always be a certain number of bystanders, while others leap into the middle of a situation and act. What little time we have is precious. Do not throw away your love. Find the people who will become the extensions of God and can deal with human problems, communism, and the problems of this world. God needs activists.
Just as a family gets involved in the birth of a baby, the whole church community should be involved in a person's spiritual birth. Necessities must be prepared; one important requirement is to create a spiritually warm environment. The church center should be filled with love, prayer, and spirituality. When a person walks through the door, he should be received with warmth and love. Each person of the church community therefore has a responsibility to project positivity and optimism. Our thoughts and attitudes absolutely influence the atmosphere.
Through my years of experience, I have found that a beautiful spiritual environment is what attracts people. They become so fascinated and magnetically drawn by the love and high spiritual atmosphere, they just do not want to leave.
Every human being has rebelled against God since the time of Adam and Eve. Therefore, when you witness you should expect to be confronted with rebels. You represent God and even if what you say makes sense to them, they could rebel against you. It is only natural.
The Principle terms this rebelliousness "fallen nature." The process of overcoming this is our individual course of restoration and it is just as normal. Satan is angry when people listen to God's truth; if it looks to him as if a person wants to leave his camp, Satan expects to be paid before he will allow his hostages to go free. But Satan would rather keep the person enslaved and forego the payoff. Therefore, we have to tell people about the law of Tang Gam/indemnity. We must impress upon them that offering even small conditions to God, helps protect them from Satan's attack. We too have our part to play in order to prevent Satan from continuing to run interference when a person is trying to recognize the face of God.
It is our responsibility to inject positive elements into this world. The greatest thing anyone can do is to gather up the elements of the love of God and give them to other people. When we get to spirit world, thousands of people will be thankful that we led them to God. That is the greatest reward and joy any person could ever feel.
Even though a Unificationist may have many spiritual children, he may not fully realize or appreciate their value. Spiritual children also do not immediately understand the value of being brought back to God. In spirit world the mysteries of the physical plane will be revealed; eventually people will feel deep gratitude toward their spiritual parents for helping to open the door that led to their salvation.
According to Father, the most important message to convey when witnessing is that Christ has come. If any of us think that we should draw people to ourselves, we will never be successful. The key to successful witnessing is allowing God to work through us and then connecting the people to the Messiah, not ourselves. God can never accept the results made by a leader who achieved certain goals but then takes all the credit personally.
Whenever you receive praise, always return it to God immediately. Step down and put God on the pedestal. God is the one who witnesses; He is the one who shares His grieving heart with humanity. We are but His instruments.
When we witness, we naturally talk about what God has done in our lives, but we must also show it. Our example is most important. If you have a deadpan expression on your face but at the same time talk about happiness, or joy and heaven, who will believe you?
Many religious people do not understand the value of witnessing. The majority of Unificationists also do not appreciate it. Someday people will be eternally grateful to you for all you have done to convey the will of God.
Fundraising is only another way of witnessing; you connect people to God through the word or the offering. Whether or not they understand, they serve God through their response.
Many years ago we shared the Principle with a great many individuals and guided them through the pangs of rebirth. The number one reason for this success was that all of us prayed day and night. As soon as one guest came, we all immediately focused our prayer efforts on him. All other members prayed in support as I or another person gave lectures. Sometimes a person would come and sit within our midst for two or three hours even though nobody said a word. Instead we played the stereo and the strains of one of Beethoven's masterpieces lifted our hearts; we all felt as though we were in heaven and the guest did not want to leave. The love he could feel was tangible; he could almost reach out and touch it. People loved and were loved in return because all of us were focused on one goal: saving the life of one of God's children.
Bolster yourself up. Remind yourself that you are God's son or daughter, and reinforce your self worth. You are a valuable person for God. Shut off the voice of Satan. He would like to continue to hold you in his grasp, but make a conscious decision to have nothing more to do with him and instead let God witness to you. Replace Satan's tape with the soothing and melodious voice of Heavenly Father.
We must never forget that people can connect with Father's heart once we become true mediators. We serve as a go-between. The greatest way to serve God and humanity is to show people the road home. We must be motivated from the depths of our hearts and feel that the most important thing to bestow upon mankind is not food or drink, but salvation.
You should not neglect to witness to your central figure, your spouse, and the brothers and sisters within your church community. Perhaps one of them is suffering or struggling. If so, why not embrace them with your love. Remind them -- witness to them -- of the glories of God and what impact He has already had on their lives. Help them remember their value to Him. He has great love for them, but too often they listen to Satan instead of Him.
Far too often we ignore and neglect the silent cries from a brother or sister as we rush out the door to go witnessing. Before going out to find new people, make sure you attend to the family members inside the doors of your house who are in need of your help.
Each one of them traveled a difficult path to find the will of God and True Parents. How grievous Heavenly Father would be if they abandoned Him and went back to Satan's world. Too many people of our worldwide movement who committed their beautiful hearts and minds to God became discouraged and were crushed by the pressure put upon them by Satan. As they were drowning, no one threw out a life preserver, no one "witnessed" to them when they needed to hear words of comfort and solace. Far too many who were not strong enough then abandoned the ideals they once held as members of our movement and retired to the secular world. Sometimes it is important for us to ask ourselves whether or not we could have prevented their departure. Or once they walked out the door, did we bolt the door too soon? By the things we said, did we in fact open the door and bid them to leave? It is often the sins of omission that we come to regret later. Take the challenge of assisting a brother or sister in a rebirth or a recommitment. That kind of witnessing is crucial and important, and should not be neglected. Listen to the heart of your brother or sister and when he or she is in need, help toss out the lifeline that your God and Messiah want to extend to him.
We are engaged in a re-creation process; this naturally evokes certain feelings. It is normal that we go up and down; we are tossed between heaven and hell every day. It is normal to have feelings of joy amidst tears of suffering. But when we hear a person say through his tears, "Yes, I want to come back to God," the pain becomes worth it. We feel like a co-creator with God, helping to re-create an individual's life. We feel as God and True Parents feel. That is the precious gift we ourselves receive when we witness. It should be a motivating factor to stop ourselves from sitting in the background, just praying and meditating. That is the reason we should want to go into hell and bring people home to God. Once we do that, the emptiness in our hearts will disappear and we will feel God's joy.
When a person joins our movement, each member of the spiritual community should personally feel responsible to take care of him. The power of Satan is strong and Satan will work hard to influence the person to leave. Engage in tactical warfare: outsmart Satan! Set conditions of indemnity for the person; fast and pray for him. Indemnity paid by all members can create enough energy to ensure that the new member does not suffocate spiritually.
If your spiritual child accepts the Principle and is on the verge of deciding a level of commitment, think about him all the time. Even if someone else looks after him, continue to pray for and think about him, always projecting positive elements. Those vibrations will have an effect. Spiritual parent and child are spiritually connected. The child is attached to the parent through a spiritual umbilical cord and must be fed continuously. Even if you are not in the same locality, if you feel depressed, it is quite possible that your spiritual child will undergo suffering simultaneously. Yet if you are spiritually growing, he will follow a similar pattern.
The motivation to go out witnessing must emanate from the heart. If God comes to you and touches your heart and you feel the urgency of the time, you will develop a longing to go out and win people for Him.
If you embrace spirit and truth, you will easily project your heart to a person you meet. If you only talk about the truth, it may seem to the person that you are espousing some kind of a philosophy which he can easily reject. But if you also inject spirit while you talk to him, you become a dynamic fireball and your heart can ignite his. By itself, the truth can do little. The responsibility also lies with us and how much we allow God to channel His love through us.
Leave the house with a song on your lips to praise God!
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