Truth is not always popular. Depending on the environment, statements that reflect absolute truth can be downright offensive to many. That is one reason the Bible instructs us to make sure our hearts are centered on pleasing God even before we open our mouths. We need to keep in mind the ultimate goal of our conversation so we don’t get entangled in personal arguments or some defensive tirade.
Peter exhorts us to “set Christ apart as Lord” in our hearts before considering our contribution to a dialog that requires God’s truth (1Pt.3:15). That verse also clarifies that we cannot always improvise in these kinds of encounters. Knowing the volatile nature of competing world views, we should “always be prepared to give an answer.” Before we find ourselves in these situations we would be wise to pray frequently and even mentally dialog with the prevailing philosophies of our day.
Lastly, when we are in the middle of that conversation and we know we have to stand up for what is true, Peter adds that we must govern our emotions so that we can speak with a decorum of “gentleness and respect.” Truth may not always be popular, but when we speak it in love, God may just use our words to accomplish his transforming purpose in others.