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Summary: Respecting the Unsaved: You can’t beat people over the head with the Bible nor shove it down their throats.

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WHAT IS THE FIRST THING THAT COMES TO MIND WHEN YOU HEAR THE WORDS: RUDE, CRASS, DISRESPECTFUL, HATEFUL, MEAN, INSENSITIVE, AND OFFENSIVE?

YOU MIGHT THINK THEY COME FROM AN ACT OF A “STAND UP COMEDIAN” OR POSSIBLY THE DIALOG FROM AN “R” RATED MOVIE. WOULD YOU BE SURPRISED IF I SAID THAT THEY COULD BE SOME OF THE WORDS UNSAVED PEOPLE HAVE USED TO DESCRIBE THE ENCOUNTERS THEY’VE HAD WITH SOME OVER-ZEALOUS CHRISTIANS?

DEPSITE ALL THE GREATEST INTENTIONS IN THE WORLD, IT IS STILL POSSIBLE TO TAKE SOMETHING THAT IS AS POWERFUL AND AS EXCITING AS THE GOOD NEWS OF JESUS CHRIST AND MAKE IT TOTALLY OFFENSIVE AND DISTURBING.

THERE HAVE BEEN QUITE A FEW INSTANCES WHERE GOOD, CHRISTIAN PEOPLE HAVE TOTALLY RUINED THEIR OPPORTUNITY TO PRESENT THE GOSPEL MESSAGE SIMPLY BECAUSE OF THEIR TIMING, DELIVERY AND PRESENTATION.

THE CONTENT AND THE TRUTH OF THE MESSAGE CAN BE 100% ACCURATE, BUT IF IT IS DELIVERED 100% OFFENSIVE, THEN THE MESSAGE IS DISTORTED AND SADLY, EITHER MISSED OR REJECTED.

THAT IS WHY IT IS SO CRITICAL FOR THE BELIEVER IN CHRIST TO KEEP BOTH THE DELIVERY AND MESSAGE IN COMPLETE HARMONY. EVERYTHING ABOUT OUR MESSAGE MUST BE SYNCHRONIZED SUCH AS BODY LANGUAGE AND TONE OF VOICE.

WHEN IT COMES TO COMMUNICATION, WE FIND THAT ONLY 7% OF COMMUNICATION IS THE CONTENT WHERE AS 38% IS THE TONE OF VOICE USED. A WHOPPING 55% OF COMMUNICATION IS THE NONVERBALS SUCH AS BODY LANGUAGE AND FACIAL EXPRESSIONS.

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR US TO COMPASSIONATELY BLEND BOTH CONTENT AND DELIVERY OF THE GOSPEL MESSAGE. WE MUST EXHIBIT THE APPORPRIATE VOLUME AND AN UNCONDITIONAL AMOUNT OF LOVE AND RESPECT FOR THOSE WE ADDRESS.

WHEN IT COMES TO BEARING WITNESS FOR OUR SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST, IT IS IMPERITIVE THAT WE WATCH NOT ONLY “WHAT” WE SAY, BUT “HOW” WE SAY IT.

OUR PASSAGE TODAY PERFECTLY OUTLINES OUR WITNESSING APPROACH TOWARDS THE UNSAVED. 1 PETER 3:15, “…DO THIS WITH GENTLENESS AND RESPECT….”

GENTLENESS COMES FROM THE GREEK NOUN THAT CAN BE TRANSLATED “NOT PUSHY, NOT SELFISHLY ASSERTIVE,” OR “NOT INSISTENT ON ONE’S OWN RIGHTS, NOT DEMANDING ONE’S OWN WAY.”

BEING AN EFFECTIVE WITNESS FOR JESUS CHRIST WAS NEVER INTENDED TO BE A COMPETITIVE STRATEGY IN HOPES OF WINNING AN ARGUMENT OR DEBATE.

THE GOSPEL SHOULD NEVER BE LINKED WITH ARGUMENTS OR BELLIGERENCE. GENTLENESS IS THE QUALITY THAT TRUSTS GOD TO DO THE WORK OF CHANGING ATTITUDES. 2 TIMOTHY 2: 24-25, “THE LORD’S SERVANTS MUST NOT QUARREL BUT MUST BE KIND TO EVERYONE. THEY MUST BE ABLE TO TEACH EFFECTIVELY AND BE PATIENT WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE. THEY SHOULD GENTLY TEACH THOSE WHO OPPOSE THE TRUTH. PERHAPS GOD WILL CHANGE THOSE PEOPLE’S HEARTS, AND THEY WILL BELIEVE THE TRUTH.”

WHEN WE ARE BEING OPPOSED FOR OUR FAITHFULNESS AND FACING ADVERSITY AND HOSTILITY FOR OUR CHRISTIAN STANCE, WE MUST RESIST THE URGE TO USE BITTER LANGUAGE OR ANY FORM OF RETALIATORY SPEECH. YOU WILL ALWAYS LOSE WITH AGGRESSIVENESS AND ARROGANCE.

PSALM 15:1, “A GENTLE ANSWER TURNS AWAY WRATH, BUT A HARSH WORD STIRS UP ANGER.” COLOSIANS 4:6, “LET YOUR CONVERSATION BE GRACIOUS AND EFFECTIVE SO THAT YOU WILL HAVE THE RIGHT ANSWER FOR EVERYONE. GENTLESNESS WILL WIN OUT EVERY SINGLE TIME.


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