To Our Church Family and Friends,
I received a phone call here at the church office today from a woman calling to urge me to go to a conference in the Nashville area that will help our church in our ministry through the best use of modern technology. She was passionate in her attempts to get me to attend this conference. I had no interest whatsoever. She asked me if I would consider going. I said, “No”. She asked, “May I ask why?” I said, “No” again. She rambled on about how many pastors have found this to be very valuable etc. etc. And she said, “You can go to our website to find out more about it.” And she asked if I would like to do that. I said, “No” again.
She said, “Wow. That’s really sad.” I said, “Just pray for me. Pray that I might become as godly and devoted as you are someday if such a level of spiritual depth is even possible.” I didn’t say that but I WANTED to. I told her I found her comment very manipulative and probably made me even more determined not to go.
It caused me to think about the way Christians may come off to non-Christians. It wasn’t just what she said, it was her smug, condescending and self-righteous tone which I found repulsive. It gave the impression that she was thinking, “How sad that this man just isn’t as spiritually minded as I am. How pathetic that he doesn’t care for the lost like I do.”
Peter said in 1 Peter 3:15 that we should always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks for the reason for the hope that we have. Then he said we need to do this “with gentleness and respect.” We do not have the right to change God’s truth and water it down and ignore what God has said is right and what He said is wrong. So we are obligated to stand for His truth. But we can do that in a way where we do not sound blatantly manipulative, condescending or self-righteous. Some will accuse us of that no matter what. But let’s at least do our best to make sure such charges are false.