As we saw in the first two blog articles in this series, using soundbites in witnessing can be a very effective communication tool.
Unfortunately, it also has a downside.
1. Using soundbites can feed our ego.
Once we have gotten the hang of using soundbites and have crafted a number of good ones, we can start to admire our own cleverness.
We can seek to become the master of the zinger and the one-liner.
Needless to say, this type of sinful pride can greatly hinder our witness.
2. Soundbites can be used to humiliate.
Because they believe they have the truth and that we are in spiritual darkness, Jehovah’s Witnesses sometimes come across and arrogant and obnoxious.
That can foster in us a strong desire to come up with devastating soundbites and definitive retorts that will expose the Watchtower’s errors and leave Jehovah’s Witnesses speechless.
If we aren’t careful, we can forget that their salvation—not their humiliation—needs to be the goal of our witness.
3. Soundbites can convey error as well as truth.
If we get careless, we can find ourselves taking Scriptures and quotations out of context in order to make our points.
This can especially tempting when we are attempting to combat Watchtower teachings that do just that.
However, 2 Timothy 2:15 commands us to rightly handle the word of truth. Likewise, 2 Corinthians 4:2 reminds us that we need to renounce “disgraceful, underhanded ways” ant to “refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word,.”
4. Soundbites can prevent deep thought.
While soundbites can challenge us to think deeply, they can also become a narcotic that prevents deep thinking. This is especially so when soundbites become mantras.
It often takes a great deal of effort to get people to examine their cherished beliefs, especially when those ideas care expressed in soundbites that stick in their heads and are repeated constantly in talks and literature.
5. Soundbites can create strongholds.
An example that I have used before is Jehovah’s Witnesses’ reliance on the statement in Ecclesiastes 9:5 that “the dead are conscious of nothing.”
Whatever Bible passages you cite them that show conscious existence after dead, Witnesses say, “It can’t mean that because we know from Ecclesiastes 9:5 that the dead are not conscious of anything.” The thought that Ecclesiastes 9:5 may not express God’s viewpoint of the afterlife simply doesn’t occur to them.
Sometimes I have said to Witnesses, “Just because a statement appears in God’s book doesn’t mean that God agrees with it.” Often, they stare at me as if that possibility never crossed their minds.
6. Soundbites don’t work every time.
Soundbites can be an effective communication tool, but there’s no clever statement or series of clever sayings that will crush all intellectual opposition and get through to everyone.
Only the Holy Spirit can give spiritual understanding.
Have you ever misused soundbites in order to make your point? Have you ever become too reliant on them?
Share your thoughts in the comments.