“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
The Apostle Peter was someone who knew what it was to boldly give an answer with gentleness and respect. He did this in Acts Chapter 4, where we are told he stood before the Sanhedrin and preached the good news of the gospel. This would have a modern-day equivalent of standing before the authorities today, perhaps the Supreme Court or Congress, and shamelessly professing Christ to many who don’t believe!
We know Peter wasn’t perfect, however. In John Chapter 18, when our Lord was arrested, Peter attempted to behead the high priest’s servant! Apparently Peter also had a bad aim — he merely cut off the servant’s right ear.
How many of us today have ever risked our very lives for Christ? Fortunately, in the West, we are privileged enough to live without fear of much persecution — at least not physically. Here, in America, persecution may come in a different, more subtle form: prideful jeers from unbelievers, the lack of popularity, or even the loss of a job.
But no matter what opposition we may face, there is instruction from the Bible on how to respond. (With gentleness and respect.) And we can take comfort in the fact that persecution isn’t always a bad thing; it is, in fact, a sign that the Christian is walking in the Spirit and fulfilling their job description as a disciple-maker!
When I think of the Great Commission and the persecution we will all enviably face, I can’t help but think of the guiding mantra of the USS Enterprise from the “Star Trek” series, which was to “boldly go!” We may not be participating in interstellar travel, but we can “boldly go,” too, with God’s help!
It’s important to note that a key takeaway from Acts Chapters 3 and 4 is the filling of the Holy Spirit that Peter and the other early believers experienced. (Acts 4:8.)
In other words, despite the “fiery trials” that we will all experience as believers, we have an advocate on our side. The Holy Spirit dwells within every Christian and equips him or her with the gentleness, respect, and/or boldness they will need to proclaim the Gospel. And that’s what it’s all about: spreading the good news with gentleness and with respect.
Just don’t forget the boldness!