Respectful Replies

By Royce Frederick

When the apostles were arrested, they did not yield to the will of their captors, who demanded that they stop preaching Jesus. Nor did they react with anger and madness. Instead, they respectfully declared the only course of action which their conscience would allow.

Peter and John told the religious leaders, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20).

Under similar circumstances, the noble reply of the twelve apostles was this: “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

The world always wants us to follow its ways and abandon our faith. And sometimes even our own family members may sincerely believe we are wrong and try to persuade us away from what is right. But the choice is clear: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” The most loving thing we can do for our family and friends is to obey God rather than men.

And when we discuss God’s will with those who oppose it, we need to follow the apostles’ example of respect. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear [respect, reverence](1 Pet. 3:15).

“And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition…” (2 Tim. 2:24-25).

Our goal should be to defeat the sin, not the sinner. The power to save is in God’s word, not in our anger (Rom. 1:16; Jas. 1:18-20).