For I Am Not Ashamed
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believe: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” -Romans 1:16
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel…” Those words hit me this morning. How many times do I act like I am actually ashamed of the gospel?
The world does not like the message of Jesus Christ, because it requires a deep look into ourselves that we would really wish not to peer into; The things we do against God; The things we do against fellow man. Maybe we do great at hitting big key areas-we don’t murder, we don’t commit adultery, we haven’t stolen. But what about that bitterness, anger, slander, envy, deceit, pride, selfishness ever growing within our hearts? We aren’t just destroying ourselves and others, but acting out against God. We like to overlook that about ourselves.
So when it comes to proclaiming these hard truths, we generally shy away from it. Swept under the rug, we hope no one asks us what we think about “this” or “that.” We desire to be accepted by others above all else so saying something as basic as “Jesus died on the cross for our sins” to a nonbeliever is about as easy as offering to let someone rip your big toenail off.
There are a lot of implications in that one little line. By simply stating just that, we risk offending someone, we have to confess our own shortcomings, and we have to also be able to give a defense for the things we believe. We often feel ill equipped in those sort of discussions so we try to tip-toe around them as much as possible.
I believe the answer to dealing with this issue lies in 1 Peter 3:15-16: “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, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
In your hearts revere Christ as Lord. If Christ is truly the Lord of our lives, we will honor Him by speaking His truths to the best of our ability. We will not try and word it in a way to make it better looking to the world. To diminish His truth, would be to diminish the power of His love.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. I think a lot of times we don’t want to get into these sort of conversations because we haven’t done our homework. We have certain beliefs but we don’t really know why. We must be intentional in reading our Bible and reading it daily. We can start by having conversations with fellow believers to test our beliefs in a (hopefully) safe environment.
But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. Sometimes our emotions get the best of us, and once they enter the conversation, our words become useless. We should always be aware of insecurities, fear, anger, pride that sneak into our interactions. Remain open, and an active listener. Never be afraid to say “I don’t know, but I’ll get back with you on that” when we don’t know. People value honesty over someone who tries to fake like they know what they are talking about. Even if a conversation doesn’t go as we would like, no one can deny our kindness or openness to relationship regardless of disagreement.
Never shy away from truth. In order to shine the light of Hope, we must be willing to expose the darkness. The darkness present in ourselves. The darkness present in the world.