“In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” -Titus 2:7-8
The NIV translation puts it this way, “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
” Titus 2 is talking about being a good Christian example to others. In fact, Titus 2:15 goes on to say: “These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
” The Lord is cautioning us that we are to speak such that we cannot be condemned by others because they will have nothing evil to say of us. What does that mean, exactly, both for us and for our listeners?
First, does this mean we shouldn’t say anything that unbelievers don’t want to hear? Does it mean we don’t stand up for our beliefs? Clearly no. The Bible directs us to share the Good News and tells us that we will be persecuted for His name-sake. God is telling us to speak in grace and truth so we cannot be accused of lying or being mean-spirited.
And secondly, does this mean that, if we speak in grace, nobody will speak out against us or accuse us of wrong doing? Absolutely not! While that would be nice, remember that we will
be persecuted for His name-sake. It means we will be blameless both in the eyes of the Lord and that, while others may persecute us because they don’t like
what we’ve said, they won’t be able to show us to be hateful or liars.
Sometimes that can be a difficult distinction to make. Most Christians wouldn’t knowingly choose to come off as rude. I say most because I have run into some who think the ends justify the means because they are doing God’s work. Mostly, though, it’s a matter of an unfortunate choice of words, giving an inappropriate example or saying something we don’t realize will alienate the very ones we are trying to reach. This is exactly why I wrote Say What You Mean: Defending the Faith
. If you’d like more information on sharing your faith in a more comfortable, conversational way, scroll down to the bottom of that page and download our sample lesson.
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