Speaking & Living the Gospel With Gentleness and Respect
"But in your hearts set apart 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 & respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." (1 Peter 3:15-16 NIV)
Shane L. Windmeyer is a Nationally recognized LGBT leader and executive director of Campus Pride. He is very clear in his belief that homosexuality is a wonderful lifestyle and he fights diligently for “gay rights”. In a recent article entitled, Dan and Me: My Coming Out as a Friend of Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A in the Huffington Post he describes an evening at the Chick-fil-A Bowl, with Dan Cathy, the Chick-fil-A's president and COO.
Shane describes himself as “a gay man and a lifelong activist for equality….. (who has spent) quite some time being angry at and deeply distrustful of Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A. “Shane states he thought he knew enough of Dan Cathy to label him, but found out after spending time with him that his view “was flawed”.
Shane received a “surprise call from Dan Cathy. He had gotten my cell phone number from a mutual business contact serving campus groups. I took the call with great caution. He was going to tear me apart, right? Give me a piece of his mind? Turn his lawyers on me?”
Shane then describes several conversations and meetings with Dan Cathy as “awkward at times but always genuine and kind…It is not often that people with deeply held and completely opposing viewpoints actually risk sitting down and listening to one another.” What may be even more amazing is this next paragraph - “Never once did Dan or anyone from Chick-fil-A ask for Campus Pride to stop protesting Chick-fil-A…Through all this, Dan and I shared respectful, enduring communication and built trust. His demeanor has always been one of kindness and openness…Throughout the conversations Dan expressed a sincere interest in my life, wanting to get to know me on a personal level... In return, I learned about his wife and kids and gained an appreciation for his devout belief in Jesus Christ and his commitment to being ‘a follower of Christ’ more than a ‘Christian.’”
Now please reread the Scripture above. Does this style of evangelism mark our lives with those who disagree with us? Would you pray with me right now that we would not see individuals as “projects” or individuals we need to “endure” or even people who we need to “silence” as much as to see them as people who need the same grace we received? Pray also for God to give us a genuine love for others and a deep desire to listen before we speak, to get to know a person before we spout off a contrived formula for “winning someone to the Lord” and most of all a heart for people to truly meet Christ and be transformed. Now that we have prayed, let’s go be involved and speak the Gospel of Christ for Romans 1:16 states, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…”