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I last wrote about my favorite verse, 1 Peter 3:15. You can find that article here. But the two verses that follow it have significant implications for my online behavior.
The digital world of the internet provides exponentially more opportunities to confess my Christian faith than I might ever encounter in my analog relationships. While being caustic and critical is easy and even encouraged in a digital environment (I’m just being direct!), I am called to a different approach – gentleness and respect.
“…when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.” (1 Peter 3:16-17)
I represent Christ and if I’m going to be persecuted, it should be for confessing the truth in gentleness and respect. If I choose the path of being “direct” or “honest,” in most cases, it’s because I’m not willing to put in the hard work of what this verse calls me to.
“But I can’t control what other people perceive or how they interpret my words!”
I know. And there’s the rub. I can’t control anyone else. I can barely control myself! Yet Peter says clearly that it is our good behavior that should be reviled, suggesting that people will indeed perceive my good behavior, that my gentleness and respect will be seen as such.
And then the true persecution Jesus promised will come: when I have confessed my hope with gentleness and respect. I would have it no other way. Lord, have mercy.