This week we have continued looking at the fruit of gentleness, focusing on 1 Peter 3:15
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. – 1 Peter 3:15
This verse was a real challenge for me. Normally I look at the verse with Monkey, talk about what the verse is telling us and most importantly what it is that God wants us to do. But this week was a little different. How could I ask Monkey, who is not quite three, to do something I’m not sure I do well at all?
The first line was not a problem for me, I revere Christ as Lord and try to live my life in a way that shows it. However I’m not sure I am always prepared to give a reason for the hope that I have. I’m not even sure people know about the hope that I have. I know I have friends who don’t know about my faith, I’ve had friends who are shocked to find out I’m a Christian.
I don’t speak about my faith enough. It’s something I find difficult to do. So how can I expect Monkey to? And how can I make it easier for her than it has been for me?
Before I even looked at the verse with Monkey I spent a lot of time praying over it. I spoke to friends about it and I turned to the bible for advice. I found a lot of comfort in Luke 12:11-12 When you are brought before synagogues, tulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say. I understood this verse as Jesus telling me that no matter where I am or who I’m talking to, he will be there to help me talk about him.
I decided that talking to Monkey about my faith would help me find that confidence. And if Monkey grows up talking about her beliefs maybe she won’t struggle like I do. The last line of the verse was important to me when talking to Monkey. I wanted to be gentle with my words and careful about the images I was painting in her mind. I needed to respect her opinions and questions in order to be able to have a conversation about faith.
So what is the hope that we have? It’s knowing that you are loved and that God’s love will always be there. That’s a pretty amazing thing to get your head round. I asked Monkey how she knew God loved her and she answered “Because of the rabbit song”. If you know Monkey in real life you will know that there is always logic to what she says, but sometimes you have to do a lot of digging to get to that logic! Apparently the rabbit song is actually Jesus Loves Me because the Listener Kids version she likes watching on You Tube has a purple rabbit in it.
We watched the video again together and talked about how she knew she was special to God, just like it says on the plaque above her bed. These were the reasons for our hope.
I wanted a practical way to explain hope to Monkey so we went outside to do the diet coke and mentos experiment. We talked about the bottle only being half full and that sometimes our heart doesn’t feel full. I explained that if we have the hope of Jesus in our hearts amazing things can happen. We used mentos to represent hope and as we put hope into our heart (the diet coke) it exploded. As Monkey said “that was an amazing thing!”
I shared this video on facebook and one of my friends suggested we sing Jesus love is a-bubbling over. It wasn’t a song I knew but a quick google and we were soon singing it and doing all the actions.
We talked about hope a lot this week but the focus for the month is gentleness. I wanted to talk about using gentle words and how it’s not always easy to take words back once we have said them. Monkey squirted toothpaste to show the words. She had lots of fun with this and it was easy for her to do. I then asked her to take the words back. I gave her a cotton bud, lollipop stick and a spoon and asked her to put the toothpaste back in the tube. This was not so easy! I explained to her that real words are just the same – easy to say but hard to take back – and that’s why we need to think about whether something is kind or not before we said it.
The start of this week was a challenge but I have really enjoyed looking at this verse and thinking about just what it is that makes my faith so important to me.
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