Sunday, February 23, 2014

1 Peter 3:15-16

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ."
1 Peter 3:15-16

The idea of always being ready to give an answer about your personal hope is a powerful one.  I think sometimes we don't know why we hope.  Sometimes we forget.  Sometimes we're ashamed or we doubt or we see ourselves as bad examples, and so when people ask we kind of blow it off or give a joke answer.  But this readiness that God advises can not only be a powerful tool within our own lives, to help us to remember who we are, and to help us stay close to the spirit... I think it is also one of the most powerful things that we can do in our lives and relationships: to tell people why we hope, and what we hope for.
In Moroni 6:5 we read "And the church did meet together oft, to . . . speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls."  ... And isn't that what church is for, and what this life is *for* ... to speak with each other, to be real with each other, on the deepest level... all the way down to our souls?  We are missing so much of that in the modern world, where "how are you" has come to mean "I acknowledge your existence."  We talk about TMI and oversharing, and those things aren't imaginary.  We don't want to get caught in an uncomfortably real conversation in the elevator.  There are places to bare your soul and places not to.  God isn't advocating that we go around dumping all of our problems on other people or forcing depth into every conversation... but sometimes we get into a mind-place where it is never okay, and we go through life talking on the surface and even thinking there, and never even getting near the soul.  I think God is saying that we should take advantage of those opportunities when they happen, and that we need to be ready.  And to be ready, *we* need to know what we hope for.  We need to know the reality underneath our own surface, and what we truly believe in and why.  And if we do, then it doesn't matter if the person asking has good or bad intentions.  If they are trying to shoot us down, then we still have that confidence that we know where we are coming from, and where we base our hope.  And if they have good intentions, then maybe we'll hear about their hope as well, and build a friendship and help each other become better.
Today, let's all ask ourselves why we hope... and next time someone asks, let's be ready.

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