In recent years, I’ve come to understand the importance of developing a gentle spirit. That goes for all aspects of life — both business and personal.

Some folks may have a gentle spirit naturally, but in my case that gentle spirit has developed over years of dealing with others both professionally and personally.

As an insurance agent, I frequently meet with clients during some of the most difficult and challenging circumstances they will ever face in their business and personal lives.

As a follower of Christ, I’ve come to revere the words of Peter found in 1 Peter 3:15-16: “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you 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, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”

Peter continues in verse 17, “It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”

Yes, it’s quite possible our gentleness and respect may well be met with a sharp rebuke.

What’s most important is knowing we are in God’s perfect will and come before others with gentleness and respect for their unique situation. Hopefully, we can reason with them and they will see God’s love in us.

Certainly, these days we all are confronted by diverse opinions and ideologies. Media continually bombards humankind with concepts and stories that can muddle the mind.

We would be wise to look deeper into these words of Peter and also take a closer look at the apostle as well.

Peter, who was originally called Cephas before Jesus gave him a new name, is undoubtedly one of the best known of Jesus’ disciples.

During the three-plus years he walked with Christ, we see an impulsive and aggressive follower who gave the impression he was prepared to die for his Lord.

Yet, before the crucifixion he denied knowing Jesus at least three times. He was obviously fearful for his own life.

Then, after Pentecost, this same man preached boldly on several occasions causing more than 3,000 and then 5,000 to be baptized into their newfound Christian faith.

There had obviously been a miraculous transformation that evening in the Upper Room.

Let’s break down these previously mentioned verses presented specifically to the Christian church in Jerusalem and for our benefit as well.

We are instructed to “set apart Christ as Lord” and to “always be prepared to give an answer” to all who ask “for the hope that you have” in our relationship with Christ.

Then we are told to do this “with gentleness and respect” — those words coming from this previously impulsive disciple who once drew his dagger and cut off the ear of Malchus before Jesus was taken away in the Garden of Gethsemane.

This Spirit-filled Peter then explains why we must do this: “So that those who speak maliciously … may be ashamed of their slander.”

You see, God loves His creation and wants all to come to Christ so they can experience eternity with Him in Heaven. Their shame and our good behavior may be what it takes for some to come to salvation!

This process has been going on for 2,000 years, and will continue until Christ’s imminent return.

Passages to Ponder

Jim Langley

Jim Langley

Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. He can be contacted at for more information. The opinions expressed are his own.