This week, I’ve been preparing for Sunday by studying and meditating on First Peter chapter 3. We are continuing our series on how to live out our faith in real life, and First Peter 3 is about how to SHARE our faith in real life.
In verse 15, it says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” Our witness to Christ is to live a life worthy of his goodness so others will be drawn to us enough to ask what makes us different.
And we ARE different! Or at least, we are supposed to be.
I am aware that sometimes we fall into temptation. Sometimes, our lives are not reflective of the goodness of God. For example, when Christians use their words to tear down rather than build up, when we make obtuse posts on social media, we may be saying something that is “true,” but when we say it in a way that is insensitive, judgmental, or passive-aggressive, we have failed to be a witness, and we have missed an opportunity to share the gospel.
I know this is hard, especially when others speak poorly of us. In recent months, as our church has grown, as we have disaffiliated from the UMC and stepped into uncharted territory, not everyone has been pleased with us. I received an email this week from someone concerned that another person quote “absolutely hates Brad and Timberlake.” Well then.
How shall we respond? Look again at the text, which describes HOW to be a witness, “But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
Live with gentleness and respect, no matter what. Keep a clear conscience, that is, live in such a way that even in secret, we don’t have anything to regret. And when we do, when we live like Christ, we can trust that those who speak maliciously against us will sooner or later be ashamed of their slander.
And we can go on without fear, knowing that our witness is intact, our faith has integrity, and that the Lord will prosper us.
Peace be with you!