“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3:15)
Quite a bit packed into this one verse. First, Peter reminds us Christ isn’t like us. He’s holy, not a sinner, and should be honored as such. If we don’t watch ourselves, we will project our sinful thinking onto Christ to justify our pet sins, since, obviously, Jesus would think that is okay (often we pull out our sinful version of love here.) For his actual thoughts on any given subject, don’t guess, consult the Word. (This means you, Andrea.)
We should keep this in mind as we turn to always having an answer–how we present Christ to others as well as in our private thoughts. One thing to note is we should be prepared with a defense, if someone asks. We don’t necessarily have to correct every unbeliever we meet on the street spouting lies who hasn’t asked our opinion. After the second admonishment, we’re told, effectively, to treat those who claim the name of Christ like unbelievers, too, so this goes for all sorts of stubborn fools enslaved to lies. Cast not your pearls before swine. (This means you, Andrea.)
Instead, wait on the Lord and the leading of the Holy Spirit. We can wreak a lot of havoc trying to help folk who aren’t ready for it. Only the Lord knows when they will be. So wait on him. And, if you’re getting riled, excuse yourself and take time to calm down first. Righteous or no, anger plus the sin condition makes being respectful and gentle almost impossible unless we get control of ourselves and turn things over to the Lord. Only he can give us the grace and wisdom to know what to say and when to say it.
Lord, thank you for your word. We ask for more grace and wisdom today, and patience, too, because we are not superstitious and we trust you to teach us as you see fit. Prepare us to give the answer each person you bring our way needs, at the right moment. Forgive us for the unholy thoughts and desires of our hearts we have projected onto you. Cleanse us and show us more today of who you are, and enable us to be just a little more like you. Open the ears of our hearts, that we might listen and hear your voice and obey your instruction with gladness. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.