gentleness and respect
1 Peter 3:8-16
Read Mark 7:31-35 and Luke 7:1-10 to see how Jesus spoke with some unbelievers of His day.
When defending your faith, how have you attacked the person challenging it instead of his or her arguments? Why is it important to apologize when we’ve lacked gentleness and respect when addressing others?
“And what he still has left of his faith is such an anemic, mushy, and watered-down bowl of pap that he really has become a joke—a caricature of religious conviction. Any atheist or New Ager could come up with such grotesque nonsense.”
There is a place for stating things bluntly. But these words from a Christian blogger, describing a pastor who no longer believes in Jesus, make me wince. I’m not sure I’d be won back to faith if I were being described that way.
The apostle Peter gave some profound advice on talking about faith to the world. The Christians he advised were being persecuted (1 Peter 1:6, 4:12). He counseled them to:
• Worship Christ as Lord (1 Peter 3:15). Worshiping Jesus involves living as He lived (1 John 2:6). Jesus was to be the model of their witness.
• Be ready with an answer (1 Peter 3:15). They were to be prepared by knowing their faith and the Scriptures well. This was the intellectual component of their witness.
• Speak with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:16). They weren’t to be harsh, use ridicule, or indulge in name calling. This was the tonal component of their witness.
• Live good lives (1 Peter 3:16). They were to be peaceful, loving, humble, and to repay insult with blessing (1 Peter 3:8-9). This was the ethical component of their witness.
Christianity faces much hostility today, especially from the “new atheism” movement. But when we mock those who reject our faith, we deny our Lord and dilute any power our intellectual arguments had. Being gentle and respectful means treating others fairly, giving credit where it’s due, and never engaging in threat or ridicule.
Judging by some of the online comments I’ve read, some of us who profess to believe in Jesus have some apologies to make.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Matthew 20:1-19
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