We've talked about this one a little bit at church lately. I was asked to speak on the idea of being a good witness, and it really bothered me (not being asked to speak, the word).
We have completely changed this word. A witness is someone who sees something, generally an act of some sort, and gives their account. That's it. They simply tell their story. In court, the witness is not even allowed to speculate on what the meaning is behind what they saw, they can only tell the facts of what happened and how they were involved.
Now when we talk about "witness" at church, is that what we mean? Usually when I hear of a witness it's someone who is trying to convince someone else that what they believe is true. That the conclusions they have drawn are the right ones and everyone should agree. We have even turned this word into an action, we can go "witness" to someone or a group of people can go witnessing. Have you ever heard of a lawyer asking someone to "witness" to the court? And if they did, was it to tell the jury what to believe?
God called us to tell our story. Yes, we are also called to do more and make disciples, but when someone is searching for God, do you think they want to be told what to think or draw their own conclusions with some information you can give? I think of it like this: you want to go on vacation and ask me for my advice. Now I can do one of two things, I can do what we do with faith, tell you that you have to go visit Disneyworld, explain how it is the only vacation spot, force you to like it in your mind. Or, I can tell you about my trip to Disney and how good it was for me and nothing more and let you draw your own conclusion. Which approach do you think would work better?
So there's another ruined word for me, witness. Enjoy, there are more coming.