1 Peter 3:13-17 (NLT)
13 Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. 15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. 17 Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!
In these verses the Apostle Peter reminds us to do good. He questions who would want to harm someone who does good in the lives of others; but acknowledges there are times when it might happen. In those times do not fear for God will be with you. And if you are questioned about your Christian faith, be firm, yet gentle to defend what you have learned from God. It is better to suffer for doing good that it is wrong, so speak up and be heard. Yet show love for everyone even those who might seek to do you harm.
Last night I watched Governor Mike Huckabee as he interviewed Bill Maher. Mr. Maher is a standup comedian, television host, social and political commentator and author. He is an outspoken critic of religion even going as far once to say it’s a neurological problem that justifies crazies and stops people from thinking. Maher opposes religious monuments, such as The Ten Commandments being placed in or near court houses, pointing out that this would violate the separation of church and state. He has countered the assertion of conservative Christians who claim that American law is based on the Ten Commandments by saying that of the ten, only two (the prohibitions on murder and theft) apply to American law. The other commandments, he argues, such as honoring no god before the Judeo-Christian God, keeping theSabbath holy, or honoring thy mother and thy father, are not American laws at all. In answer to the suggestion that a divine moral authority is necessary, he suggests "Couldn't we just get together and agree on the few basic Commandments that are laws? What I personally have to say is that I admired Governor Huckabee during this interview. The governor kept very composed, never raising his voice, but did defend his stance on Christianity. There were times Maher had looks of puzzlement on his face as Huckabee explained his Christian views. Maher challenged him saying if God is so loving why are there so many problems in this world? Why were children born deformed? Mike Huckabee responding again very calmly said this is a world that is filled with sin and God allows choices and struggles we must deal with. It is a way of growing our faith. He went as far to say that if he pushed his beliefs on someone that didn’t want to hear them it would be in his mind equivalent to rape. With that Maher looked shocked as though he could not understand that concept. I think Mike Huckabee did an excellent job defending Christianity, yet remaining loving and humble. As you engage others in discussions of religion remember the words of Peter, “be gentle, be respectful.”