“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
We spend significant time and energy defending our views, stances, opinions and hopes. It seems this very thing is often the purpose of social media. We fearlessly and recklessly claim that what we’re defending is right leaving everyone else to be wrong. Although the passion, energy and intensity is something to be admired, often the topic and tactics leave much to be desired. I wonder where the passion, energy and intensity go when it comes to defending our hope in Jesus Christ. In fact, it’s often as though many hit the mute button when an opportunity arises to defend their hope in Jesus.
If you search reasons for why this happens one of the most common reasons is fear. I find that to be a bit ironic as we are often fearless in defending so many other issues and not in the least concerned with offending anyone. Yet, when it comes to faith we go from stomping to tiptoeing. I think if we dig deeper into this fear it’s more of a selfish fear. We are afraid that we may not have the answers and appear ignorant while on all other topics we’re “experts.” What I’ve experienced in my defense is the most powerful phrase I’ve used is “I don’t know.” It’s okay not to know, that’s why it’s called faith. Instead, I stick to what I do know by using “but now” statements. Here are some examples. “I know I was lost, but now I’m found.” “I know I was hopeless, but now have a living hope.” “I know I was empty, but now I’m full.” “I once was discontent, but now I’m content.” “I once was guilt-ridden, but now I’m forgiven.” “I was blind but now I see.” The list goes on and on. People can’t argue what I’ve experienced because of my faith in Christ Jesus. What has this living hope found only in Christ done for you?
As we do this, we are to defend in gentleness and kindness. This is quite opposite from how our default is set to defend. Instead, it’s a defense in love. In fact, the greatest way we can defend our living hope might just be the way in which we defend. People are so used to being attacked that when we respond in love, gentleness and kindness others will likely be more compelled.
Let’s pray for the Holy Spirit to fill us with strength and humility so that we can defend all things with passion and energy yet in gentleness and kindness. It’s this that will cause others to wonder.