Wednesday, August 31, 2016

This week's lesson (August 27 - September 2): Jesus won their confidence

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened." 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, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. -- I Peter 3:13-16, NIV (emphasis supplied)
Nobody likes a know-it-all.

Even if you do know-it-all.

I mean, you may have done all the things we've talked about in this quarter's lessons: yes, you've mingled with your neighbors, listened to them, met their needs, won their trust . . .

And I know it's exciting when they finally begin to show an interest in spiritual things -- when they finally ask you that first, tentative question about your beliefs . . . 

But that doesn't mean they want to be treated like an idiot.

No, you may disagree with their beliefs -- but you still need to respect them.

You may be appalled by their ignorance -- but you still need to listen.

You may be eager to tell them everything you know about everything they need to know -- but this needs to be a conversation between friends.

Not a lecture by The World's Smartest Human.

The same kindness and humility that inspired their questions, in other words, must be shown when we answer their questions.

In short, our goal is to show them Christ -- to show Christ in what we say and how we say it.

Even if they don't know anything else.

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