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Fear of Man Issues
and Witnessing

Abstract: Fear of Man is a major obstacle to witnessing. Why? Are you afraid to witness? What are your reasons for being afraid? Why do those fears exist? Do you think others are also afraid of witnessing?

As William Carey heard the reading of Hebrews 13:13 and Christ’s willingness to “bear reproach” outside the camp, he was deeply impressed that a Christian would have to become personally involved in reaching the lost, and that doing so would bring similar reproach.

Dealing with reproach is still a significant obstacle in witnessing.

In pondering this fact, the Lord reminded me of Billy Nicholson—better known as WP Nicholson—who found himself with a small Salvation Army group in 1900. There were four of them including himself: two young women, “Daft Jimmy” who didn’t seem to have many brains—Nicholson questioned whether Jimmy could even have a headache--and himself.

Nicholson had been converted 1899, and got into his present predicament when he promised to go anywhere and do anything, at any cost, for Christ.

Shortly thereafter, as he was walking down the streets of Bangor, he came upon the Salvationist, one of which, a young woman, asked him to join them witnessing for Christ on the street corner.

There were many things Billy was willing to do, but standing on the corner witnessing with a group of Salvation Army enthusiasts wasn’t one of them—not if he could help it anyway! But he’d made a promise, and apparently this street corner witnessing was part of the cost.

“Daft Jimmy,” wore a red jersey, on the back of which, written in large letters, were the words, “Saved from Public Opinion!” Nicholson was thoroughly embarrassed, but didn’t look much better beating his tambourine at the head of the parade.

To make matters worse, every friend, every relative, every enemy of his, passed by and seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the spectacle, and he stood there hating every moment.

Recognizing things were not going well, one of the young women proposed they kneel right there in the public square and ask the Lord to take over . “Daft Jimmy” prayed—a LONG prayer, but not nearly long enough for Billy who was desperately trying to avoid eye contact with the curious onlookers.

But something happened during that prayer, for when Billy rose from his knees, he was forever cured of fearing what others were thinking of him. As one author put it, “His reputation had died and a public funeral had been conducted in that meeting…. He had lost what he never wanted to find, and had just found what he never wanted to lose. He had lost his reputation and his fear of man.”

Nicholson went on to become a great soul winner for Christ.

I wonder, are you suffering from the fear of man? I would be less than honest if I didn’t admit fear is one of my ongoing struggles.

Someone has observed that while we have no difficulty speaking on almost any subject to a stranger, we can hardly get a word out regarding the Lord Jesus. Why? I suspect “fear of man” issues. Accordingly, Proverbs 29:25 is correct when it says, “The fear of man bringeth a snare.”

Now there are many reasons why we suffer from this fear and we are going to explore them for a while, but I ask the question again, are you suffering, am I suffering, from the fear of men?

If so, why? Please share your reasons why you think you struggle with this fear.

Happy witnessing!


It goes without saying that what I write can’t be used commercially or without my permission--it might end up in a book.