1 Peter 3:15 … 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,
This recent mini-vacation will be our last relaxing get-away for me and my husband this year. We didn’t travel far, but it was far enough from the hustle and bustle of our routines to really wind us down. Our beach camp spot was perfect and our fellow vacationers were friendly. This year we met an especially lovely couple we immediately bonded with. First we talked about our trailers, then about our family adventures, then on to: parents, children, jobs, blessings, losses and on and on. Before we knew it we were planning future vacations together. It was wonderful! We are very much looking forward to many trips ahead.
On the last night together, we closed the evening at the campfire with the conversation turning towards our faith. Normally, politics and religion are risky subjects even amongst the best of friends. How much more so with new friends! Trust and intimacy have yet to truly develop between us. Even so, our campfire hosts remained cordial and open. We exchanged experiences, ideas and firm beliefs with ease. Did we discover we all believe the same things? Not entirely.
When morning came, I felt I had come up short with sharing my faith effectively. Second guessing myself I kept thinking I had missed an opportunity to give my “defense” and properly give reason for the hope within me. But after meeting with our new friends the last morning before saying good-bye, I was thankful for what was shared and the gentleness and respect it was delivered. The warm smiles and the anticipated future camping trips were all I needed to be reassured. I may not know the outcome. I do not know what the future holds. But I know God does! In the meantime, I will continue to devote myself to preparation.
In each of our lives we will find ourselves answering questions or casually conversing about our Christian faith. Sometimes, we will be on the “offense” when the door is open and the audience is receptive. Sometimes we will be on the “defense” when we are confronted and we need to contend for our faith. In either situation may we all be prepared to respond with wisdom, gentleness and respect.
Colossians 4:5–6 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.