1 Peter 3: 13-15 Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? 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, Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. 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. Remember, if is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, then to suffer for doing wrong.
I am proof of how dangerous it is to to be preachy to people instead of gentley explaining to them the wonderful love of God. There was a time in my life when I was trying to be a Christian... I was going to chruch..but was not really happy at that church. It was a time when I was being pulled by the world to just do what everybody was doing ... or I could choose to do what was right. It was a time when I wanted to do what was right but didn't understand how God would help me do right, it was not all up to me. A time when I wanted to love God because I was suppose to, but didn't understand God enough to really love Him. I didn't understand how much He really loves me. Then a few things happened to me by well meaning people...those people pushed me over on the wrong side of the fence... those Christians made me feel like such a sinner that it didn't matter anyway. Instead of drawing me in so that God could love me into doing better, they push me completely away.
In a short period of time I had several things happen, when I needed love the most. This was all right before I found out that I was sick and I was really tired and in a bad place. We had missed Sunday School several weeks in a row and actually had a Sunday School teacher stand up and talk bad about people that didn't come to church every time the doors were open...the next time we missed I was embarrassed to go back. I was told by a customer at work one day when I was in tears that if I loved God I would not feel like I did that day. At the time I loved God the best I knew how.. instead of telling me how to better discover God's love for me...she attacked me because I was having a bad day. I know how to love God now and I understand how much God loves me.. but I still have bad days sometimes where I cry.. God helps me get over them!! And one time I was somewhere where every sentence out of my mouth was attacked with scripture with how I was wrong... I was never allowed to finish my thoughts ... they had no idea where my thoughts were going...they were just eager too tell me where I was wrong. All these people were well meaning, I look now and see that they were...but they pushed me away! At that time I also worked under a person that would be so mean to people one minute...customers and employees alike and then talk about God and offer to pray with you the next. Her words spoke of God's love, her actions were not loving at all. I didn't go to church for a very long time. I didn't become an awful person...but I did sin more than I would have if somebody would have loved me and showed me how to know that God loved me. Somewhere they missed this scripture. "But do it gently and in a respectful way." These people put me in a place where I thought, "Why try? I can't do it right anyway."
Guess what... God found me anyway. Through my son, God put my One Year Bible in my hand...and I begin to read and understand. Then He put me in the presence of Godly women that understood that God meets us where we are. They understood that God grows us from where we are...and if we are in Church some, if we are loved enough we will come more! They understood that God's love should show all the time. They didn't attack me with scripture...they lovingly got to know me and showed me scripture that would help me. They hug me up and check on me when I have bad days. They remind me of the scriptures about how much God loves me... they tell me the scriptures that will make me stronger and encourage me to repeat them over and over...they pray with me and for me. They taught me how to pray.
Today I hardly miss church... God met me where I was and has brought me so much further... I am learning every day and growing. I know how much God loves me... I love God back because I feel His love not because I am suppose to!! I was not dragged across the fence kicking and screaming.. or being pushed off of it to the wrong side... people took my hand and gentle walked me into the wonderful light of God.
As a Christian I want to love people ... I never, every want to push them away. I want to gently tell them my story of how much God changed my life. I want to hold their hand and hug them up and say it will be ok, because God loves you so much. I want to always remember that those people in the worst way were victims of so many of the sins of the world and they desperately need to be loved. They don't need to be told how wrong their lives are, they know that! They need to be told that God cares so much and that He loves them.. and that His love is so amazing that it can change all things. That God's loves does make life better. I never want to forget this scripture that says live right and when people ask tell them about Me in a gently and respectful way.
These verses say, "If someone ask you about your Christian hope".. We need to live in a way that people see God's love as HOPE... our words need to show that this is HOPE. We need never to make a person walk away feeling like living for God is a hopeless things.
Our lives are the best teacher of God's love. Our lives are the best example of God's love. Our actions can be the first example of God love that somebody sees. Our God is such a loving, loving God that that should show in our words and our deeds. Our lives and our words should always make a person feel hopeful that their lives can be better!!