If People Like You, They Will Listen to You
Gentleness is a witness to unbelievers. They’re watching you all the time to see if you are any different when you’re under stress. When you respond to pressure with gentleness, it is an incredible testimony to the world.
The Bible says in Titus 3:2, “Believers shouldn’t curse anyone or be quarrelsome, but they should be gentle and show courtesy to everyone” (GW).
If you claim to be a follower of Jesus, you are not allowed to speak evil of anyone. You are not allowed to be quarrelsome. Instead you must be gentle with everybody, and you must show courtesy to everybody. Does that mean even people of a different political party? Yes.
God gave me the gift of evangelism, which means I spend most of my time when I’m not at Saddleback Church speaking to people I totally disagree with. But I believe that you cannot win your enemies to Christ; you can only win your friends.
People aren’t going to trust Jesus until they trust you first. People usually don’t ask me if the Bible is credible. They want to see that I am credible. Do I live with integrity? Am I gentle? Am I loving? Am I compassionate?
If people like what they see, they will listen to what you say.
Here’s the thing: If you actually obey Titus 3:2, you’re going to be criticized by other Christians. They’re going to say you’re compromising. I know this from experience. When I say I have friends who are Muslims or atheists or gay or Democrats or Republicans, they say, “How could you do that?” And they accuse me of compromising.
Treating other people with respect does not mean you have to compromise what you believe. Being nice to liberal people does not make you a liberal. Being nice to a conservative person does not make you conservative.
Nobody gets it right all the time. I have friends who are Republicans. I have friends who are Democrats. I’m for my friends. Why? Because there’s something more important than politics: Do they know Jesus?
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15b NIV).
Talk It Over
- How are you intentionally making friends from all walks of life so that you can talk to them about Jesus?
- Why do you think gentleness stands out so much in today’s world?
- What do you need to do to be better prepared to “give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have”?
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This devotional © 2016 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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