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Gentleness and Respect

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

Photo courtesy of pixabay.He is another one of those Moonies, I said to myself with disdain.

An Asian-looking man approached me in a parking lot and told me what he believed. His literature indicated he was a follower of Sun Myung Moon who founded the Unification Church and whose beliefs are inconsistent with orthodox Christian doctrine.

Most Christians consider this group a cult. I impatiently waited for him to finish his spiel and then let him have it. I told him in no uncertain terms he was a part of a cult, and I used scriptural proofs to validate my case. I walked away thinking, I guess I told him.

I was pretty sure I had defended the gospel, but for some reason I had a sense of unrest in my spirit. I pondered why I was troubled, and it became apparent I had not come close to dealing with this man with gentleness and respect. I knew what I had to do.

I searched the parking lot until I found the man. As I approached him, he must have been thinking, not this guy again. I told him I had spoken in a way Jesus never would have. Then I asked him to forgive me for my attitude.

In our first encounter, all my theological arguments ran off him like water off of a duck’s back. Moonies are trained to counter my kind of responses. In our second interaction, he was visibly shaken. He had no comeback to a little humility.

We should share the truth with people, but our theological truths need to be validated by love and respect for those to whom we speak. We must be ready to defend the gospel of Christ, but doing so doesn’t give us the right to be harsh or disrespectful to people with different beliefs than ours.

The poet Emerson once said, “What you do speaks so loud, I cannot hear what you say.” That may have been true with the Moonie.

Defend the gospel, but do so with gentleness and respect for the ones you speak to. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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Ken Barnes

Ken Barnes has had a twenty-five year career in educational pursuits. He has taught in various public and private schools in Pennsylvania, Hawaii, and Virginia. He also worked for seventeen years with Youth With A Mission as a school leader, recruiter, and director. Ken holds a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Virginia Commonwealth University. He is the author of The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places. He currently is a speaker, blogger, and freelance writer. Ken lives with his wife Sharon in Mechanicsville, Virginia. Visit Ken at https://sites.google.com/site/kenbarnesbooksite/