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With Gentleness And Respect

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With Gentleness And Respect

Post by Harry on Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:11 am

With Gentleness And Respect

August 29, 2018 by Jack Wellman

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The Bible teaches us that we must answer people with gentleness and respect with regards to the hope that is in us.
No Partiality
One wise old pastor said, “We are not better than others…only better off,” and he’s right. There was no good reason God had to save us. The Bible says that none are good, and to cover every exception, “No, not even one” (Rom 3:10-12). Everyone has fallen infinitely short of God’s glory (Rom 3:23), so there was nothing special in us that caused God to set His love on us. Even ancient Israel wasn’t chosen because they were the greatest and most powerful nations of the earth. Indeed, they were the least of the nations, and God called them while they were still helplessly bound in slavery. They could not escape the bondage of Egypt any more than Lazarus could have raised himself from the dead, so clearly, “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are” (1 Cor 1:27-28). God did this “so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Cor 1:29), and none of us have any bragging rights at all, “For God shows no partiality” (Rom 2:11). All we can boast about is our Savior!
Godly Responses
When we answer in the same manner and tone that we’re spoken too, we’re only fueling the fire, but when we respond with love, kindness, and gentleness, we show how Christ would respond, who “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Pet 2:23). Read how the Apostle Peter thinks we should respond. He writes that “even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, 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, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame” (1 Pet 3:14-16). When reviled, we do not revile back. We don’t give them what they deserve…we give them what they need; gentleness and respect. I have friends and acquaintances who are agnostic and atheists, and yet I have respect for them and their freedom to choose to believe what they want to believe. It’s wrong to cram religion down people’s throats. Jesus certainly never pushed Himself on anyone. He always invited them to come to Him or to follow Him. No one that I know of has ever been debated or argued into heaven; on the contrary, it likely does more harm than good.
Gentleness and Respect
The Apostle Paul doesn’t want Timothy to be shy in correcting those in the church who need it, but wrote that “the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim 2:24-25). This was to be done in the hope that “they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will” (2 Tim 2:26). You can respect someone’s belief but not be gentle, or you can be gentle but not respect someone’s beliefs, so it’s essential to have both gentleness and respect. Even when someone “is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted” (Gal 6:1). It’s dangerous to look at others and see them struggle and think, “Well, at least I don’t do that,” or “At least I’m not that bad.” That’s why Paul warned, “Keep watch on yourself,” because we may also “be tempted” to do the same thing…or even worse. Believe me, I speak from experience. We cannot expect someone to respect our beliefs when we don’t respect theirs, and we cannot expect gentleness from others when we are not ourselves gentle with them. Even if our beliefs are not respected or others treat us badly due to our faith in Christ, we are still admonished to respond with gentleness and respect.
Conclusion
We are commanded to treat everyone honorably and with gentleness and respect, so this means we “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Rom 12:17-18), so we turn it all over to God (Rom 12:19), as to “not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:21). We know that God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4), for God has declared, “I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live” (Ezk 18:32). “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17). If Jesus came not to condemn the world, who are we to condemn? Judgment starts in the house of God (1 Pet 4:17). God will judge the unbelievers. We are only told to respond with love (John 13:34-35). Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27-28), and of course we do that with gentleness and respect.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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