Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. -1 Peter 3:15-16. (NLT)
What happened to respect and decency when expressing our views to one another? It seems that we have chosen to turn a deaf ear to truth, and instead focus our attention on the loudest voice in the room. Do we truly believe it is okay to engage in conversation or debate using any means necessary? Even if it means completely disregarding the other person’s humanity or well-being? One of the reasons our conversations have sunk so low in our culture (including our homes) is an underutilized spiritual gift from the Creator–gentleness. Gentleness in speech can make to difference in having a conversation or an argument (Proverbs 15:1).
There’s an old saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” That is so untrue! Words are much more powerful than sticks and stones. It is often words that cause people to pick up the sticks and stones. James 3:5-10 teaches us about how words have a powerful effect on us and can be like setting a forest on fire. Words have the power to both bring peace and start wars. It is up to us to choose our words carefully to build up our relationships instead of tear them down. We should “always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” (Ephesians 4:2)
If someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. Your testimony about how Jesus changed your life may be exactly what that person needs to hear. When we share the words of God with someone, we plant a seed in their hearts for God to nurture and grow. It is not our job to bully people into accepting Jesus. Only Jesus can save and the Holy Spirit works on the hearts and minds of those that hear the gospel to bring them to salvation. So friends, we must answer people who question our faith gently and respectfully. When people see the love of Jesus in your heart play out in our lives, it will be much easier for them to believe the words that we say.
Let us live our lives with love and gentleness towards one another so we can build up one another in our relationships! When we have trusting relationships, we can gently and humbly help a spouse or loved one who has gotten off course find their way back to Jesus. Be gentle.