January 22, 2021
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 . . .
On Monday, we talked about fear being the opposite of reverence. On Wednesday we talked about courage as a way to honor God. Today, we look at another mandate from Peter when it comes to honoring God. In the second half of verse 15, Peter charges us to always be ready with an answer. He then describes how that answer should be given – with gentleness and respect.
It’s very similar to Paul’s charge to speak the truth in love from Ephesians 4:15. If you remember Pastor Dave Collins’ sermon from September 27, he described truth and love as the two wings of an airplane. Flight cannot be achieved without both of them functioning well. But we each have a tendency to favor one wing over the other. Some of us like to lay out the truth, regardless of how it’s received. Some of us lean so far into love, we don’t say difficult truths that could bring transformation.
And that contrast is here in Peter’s letter as well. Some of us are eager preparers. We’ve got arguments and diagrams, resources and footnotes – all to help us better explain the hope that we have in Christ. But our arguments lack gentleness and respect. Others of us are so gentle that we shy away from declaring Christ as the reason for our hope. Instead, we vaguely reference the golden rule, talk about paying it forward, or speak in general terms about love. We should instead say, “I act this way because of the transformation Jesus has done in my life.”
A simple way we can lean further into revering Christ as Lord is to observe which direction we need to grow. Which wing requires strengthening? If you relish confrontation, practice gentleness. If you are timid, practice speaking uncomfortable truths. In this way, we acknowledge the Lordship of Christ. For you “truth-talkers,” you acknowledge he doesn’t need to be defended as much as he needs to be revealed. So you don’t have to start a fight over theology. Your gentleness can do as much as your analysis. For you “love-speakers,” practice boldness in explaining how your hope is more than a generic love of humanity or simple optimism. Jesus has made a difference in your life, and he deserves to be acknowledged publicly. Lean into growth, and ask God for an opportunity to practice. In doing so you will honor Christ in a new way.