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. (1 Peter 3:15, NIV 1984).
My Musings – “When you know something deeply, it’s hard to remember that others don’t.” (Kim Scott, “Radical Candor”). And, of course, we always respond “with gentleness and respect.” Right. We don’t know how they cannot understand. Unfortunately, explaining “the reason for the hope that [we] have” is not always enough. “You have to address your listener’s emotions as well.” But be careful, “the line between persuasion and [manipulating people’s emotions] can be a fine one.” So, as Aristotle believed, “to be legitimately persuasive a speaker must address the audience’s emotions, but also establish the credibility and share the logic of the argument.” (Kim Scott, “Radical Candor”). Unless, of course, you’re speaking with Mr. Spock.
My Advice – Often we tell the Gospel rather than share the Gospel. We forcefully argue why they are wrong, rather than gently explaining the reason (logic) for the hope we have. We expect to be credible, even if our inconsistent walk argues against the believability of a life that has been changed. When we cannot get through, we sometimes come across as crude and disrespectful rather than gentle and respectful, appealing to combative emotions rather than enthusiastic curiosity. We cannot coerce or manipulate anyone into the Kingdom. We can only lead them to the threshold. We mustn’t drive them away.