"8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing." 1 Peter 3:8-9
The writing of Peter is always a source of instruction and admonition. The selected verses above are no exception. In them, we are encouraged to possess the qualities of sympathy, love, compassion and humility, in our dealings with each other. And did you notice the promise? We are told to be a blessing, because we shall inherit a blessing. I included the above verses because they serve as an introduction to a section of Scripture which we have read and heard quoted, but we all share in the need to be reminded. Here is the supporting verse:
"15 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." 1 Peter 3:15
We live in days of uncertainty from numerous directions. We deal with the fear of terrorism, and shudder with newscasts when we hear of tragedies. Perhaps our jobs are shaky and we wonder what would happen if our paychecks suddenly stopped. We suffer with illnesses, not knowing how we are going to make it through this setback. On and on, times of trouble continue to surface.
With that in your mind, let me ask......Are there people that come up to you and ask how you, as a Christian, maintain your confidence and hope? What preparation do you need to make so you can always be ready to give an answer?
Look at it this way. The child of God who faces problems and perplexities in his life with a confident faith will probably hear something like, "how do you stay so strong?" or "tell me your secret." Peter says we need to be ready to give them an answer. When we do that, we are not only giving our testimony about Jesus living in us, but we are also given the opportunity to lead them in the right spiritual direction.
I can almost hear some of you. "I never know what to say." I will readily admit there are some who just seem to be gifted for conversations like that, but in reality, each of us should be prepared to give a good answer. Sometimes, words are not necessary, as is seen in this borrowed story.
A non-believer lived in a small town, owning a retail business, and known by everyone in town. One by one, preachers from each church had visited the man in an attempt to win him for the Lord. It became obvious to the man as preachers came, realized they were getting nowhere with him, then left, that he was proud of his ability to put them all in their place. This went on for a couple of years and one day, out of the blue, the man showed up in a local church one Sunday morning. Following that, he went back every Sunday and became a strong addition to the congregation. He then confessed that during those years when the preachers were working on him, he had noticed a pretty young lady that walked past his house every Sunday, rain or shine, in snow, in mud, even in the summer's heat, walking to the little church on the corner. He followed her one day to see why she was so dedicated and faithful in her church attendance. He returned on subsequent Sundays. About a year later, he and the pretty lady were married, and he told in his testimony how she led him to the Lord, with her example.
Be ready with your answer, whether by words of teaching, or better yet, with your example.