When we share our faith with others, our gentleness and respect for them reflects the character and heart of Jesus.
"But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)
Many of us have heard this scripture. In it, Peter encourages believers to be prepared when people ask why we have this unusual hope in such a fallen world. But we often ask, “How?”
What do we say exactly? Our personal testimonies are the best answers, and we are already equipped with them! Jesus is a personal, relational Savior who has loved, saved, protected, healed, and provided for us throughout our lives. Remembering these testimonies, and sharing our personal stories of encounters with Jesus’s kindness, are powerful ways to respond to such questions. Additionally, we can share the stories of other people’s encounters with the kindness and power of Jesus, whether they are people from our circle of friends or from the Bible. Both are powerful answers to explain our hope.
More than quoting exact scriptures, however, focus on communicating the character and power of Jesus as the source of your hope today. The key to this verse is the manner in which Peter directs us to communicate: “with gentleness and respect.” We want to reflect Jesus when we speak about Him, and He is not forceful, condemning, judgmental, or a know-it-all. He is kind, humble, and carefully positioned and precise with His words. His goal is always to draw people to Himself with cords of love, not to further alienate them and not to infuse discomfort or condemnation into the hearts of His children. As we have opportunities to share, let’s remember it was Jesus’s love that drew us in. Let’s reflect that love in our manner of speech to each person we encounter.
Lord, thank you for your lovingkindness expressed towards us every day. Please help us to use every platform of communication available to us to share the Good News of the Gospel. Help us to remember our countless testimonies of your lovingkindness, and help us to express them with gentle, respectful speech, both spoken and written. For your glory, Amen.