Friday April 24, 2020
13 Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So, don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.1 Peter 3:13-17
15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a
good life you live because you belong to Christ. 17 Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!
In an age where many engage in hard-sell self-promotion, it is good to hear this message.
“If someone asks about your hope as a believer…” Why would someone ask us a question about our beliefs? Unless I’m in a church setting, I rarely ask people this kind of question because so often people want to sell me something. Before the quarantine, we were given tickets to the Philadelphia Flower Show. It was fun and interesting. But I was careful to avoid eye contact with the vendors. Once eyes met, the sales pitch began.
In a few cases we did allow eye contact. It was always because the display caught our attention. The display created a sense of admiration. Admiration led to the question, “How did they manage to do this cool thing?” Or, “That looks really interesting!” Or, “I wish I could do that.”
That’s why someone might ask another person about their hope. They see how the person behaves and admire it. They wish they could behave that way. They want to know more.
Here is a counter example. Target has signs on its doors saying that face masks are mandatory for entry into the store. Wednesday, while I was there to pick up some items, two men came in without masks. Did anyone in the store think, “I admire their behavior. I want to get to know them better.” Probably not. They were blatant. They were putting others at risk. They appeared to be trying to make some point. It was an in-your-face hard sell.
“ … always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way.”
A store employee wearing a mask soon confronted them and asked them to put on masks or leave. When he spoke to the maskless men, he was polite and gentle. He did not criticize them. He simply stated that store policy was to protect shoppers and asked them to please leave. If they put on masks, they were welcome to return. This employee was admirable. He was a person one might ask, “How do you keep your cool?” If he spoke of faith in a gentle and respectful way, he would be a witness in the way Peter described.
Times of stress like the present bring out opportunities to behave well when it matters. We can smile through our masks. We can step aside to give someone space. We can offer our place in line to someone older. We have reason to fear but if we behave with loving care for others, people will, “see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ”. Amen.
-Pastor Doug Donigian
Stay in touch. Share your needs. Let us help. Amen.