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I grew up in a family that prided itself on speaking the truth. If we were right and knew it, we let you know it. Never mind the destruction our words left in their path. We convinced ourselves that They had it coming or It’s better they find out before someone else tells them.

Brash, outspoken and in-your-face was the mantra of my family. I see this mindset at play in our culture today. Whether in politics, the business world, or personal interactions, we are constantly confronted with this messaging.

I hate to admit it, but it wasn’t until I was in my 40s that I realized this kind of talk wasn’t how a Christian should respond to others. Confronted with my own brashness, I went to Scripture to see what it had to say. I found that instead of speaking words of truth without regard to how they would affect those on the receiving end, I was to speak gently.

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“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

– Proverbs 15:1, NIV

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Colossians 3 instructed me to put off anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language and put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

These words pierced my heart like a sword. Scripture revealed that a family area of pride was a stronghold of sin God was asking me to break. This broken area of my life had harmed relationships and kept friendships from beginning.

I realized an even more significant effect of my non-gentle language. I was actually hurting my witness for Christ. We often quote I Peter 3:15 when encouraging and training in evangelism, “… Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. …” We typically stop there, but the next sentence tells us how we are to share that hope: “with gentleness and respect.” Wow! That means we need to think twice about how we come across to people. Those in-your-face conversations, those caustic social media postings aren’t going to draw people to Jesus. They are going to make them run away.

Let’s be mindful to speak the truth and share the hope within us with gentleness and respect.

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Nancy-Sprowls-(2)Gentleness and Evangelism
Nancy Sprowls

May 23, 2016 [printfriendly] [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_4″][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

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