During 2015, the Board for Home Outreach will present a series of articles with the theme “Be Ready to Give an Answer.” This title is drawn from 1 Peter 3:15: But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. 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. As Christians, all of us are to be on the lookout for opportunities to tell others about Jesus, our true basis for hope in this seemingly hopeless world. It is the Board’s prayer that these articles will help you in your witnessing efforts.
“You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!” So goes the famous line from the movie A Few Good Men. As Christians who have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, who is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6), it’s not only important to know the truth, but also just as important how we handle the truth.
For example, if I went to the doctor, and he told me: “Well, the tests are in. Yep, you’ve got cancer, ya big jerk! You should’ve been living a healthier lifestyle. Too bad for you! I’ve gotta run, my golf buddies won’t wait forever.” While it may be true that I have cancer and I should have maintained healthier habits, I think we’d all agree that his attitude and words were highly inappropriate, and I’m probably finding myself a different doctor.
The same thing can be true in a spiritual sense. If I tell someone: “You’ve been a rotten sinner since the day you were born, and you’re going to spend eternity roasting in hell forever, just like you deserve, you big jerk!” followed by a devilish laugh on my part, I’ve probably just blown my opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus with that person—even though much of what I stated was the truth.
We not only need to know the truth, but also need to know how to handle the truth! The apostle Paul informs us that, as Christians, we are to be “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). It is clear that truth not only needs to be known, but also needs to be partnered with compassion.
The most effective way for us to advertise the Gospel is to conduct ourselves in a way that makes it abundantly clear that Christ’s love has filled our hearts and lives! We are 24/7 ambassadors for Christ, which means our lives need to match up with our words and to reflect the love of Jesus, so that the world, shrouded in the darkness of unbelief, can be exposed to His life-giving light!
Growing in your faith is crucial to you living your faith! Word and Sacraments are the fuel for a dynamic faith that shines brightly like the sun! And it’s the power of God’s Word, along with the knowledge of God’s love for us, that motivate us to follow Christ and proclaim His saving name! For God displayed His love through His Son, who lived perfectly for us and took His sinless life to the cross, where He became sin for us; a love that caused Him to shed His blood to pay for all our sins, followed by Him rising victoriously on Easter morning for us so that we, too, can rise to a new life.
Knowing God’s truth and flavoring it with the love of Christ—who lives in all believers by faith—enable you to proclaim the glorious truth of God, with true joy and compassion in your heart! And it demonstrates to all that you CAN handle the truth!
Reverend Rodney Flohr
King of Grace Lutheran Church
Golden Valley, MN