Be gentle as you speak and show respect.

Your heart should be holy and set apart for the Lord God. Always be ready to tell everyone who asks you why you believe as you do. Be gentle as you speak and show respect. [1Peter 3:15 NLV]
This verse reminds me how Paul wrote to the Ephesians about speaking the truth in love. It causes me to wonder how effective our message is when the messenger is not in sync with the message. Is it possible to tell someone that God loves them when we ourselves neither love them nor show them respect?

I think that mutual respect is the heart of civil dialog. Yet sometimes civility is the exception, rather than the rule, when we discuss important things. In this verse Peter seems to be communicating the necessity of civil discourse. And frankly, we show respect more by listening than by speaking.

Help me to be a listener Lord. Teach me to use the ears of me heart in my discussions with others.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the epistles of Peter.

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