God calls us to bear witness to his truth and his love at all times. This is not always an easy task – especially when speaking about our faith with fellow Christian brothers and sisters. So how do we keep our words wrapped in Christ’s love and respect when we disagree? Let these three fruits of the Holy Spirit be your guide:
1. Joy. Begin with a joyful prayer of thanksgiving for having friends who are lovers of Jesus and who care enough to discuss what that love means to them. Embrace the gift of your friendship and acknowledge the respect you share. Invite the Holy Spirit into your conversation and ask for wisdom.
2. Gentleness. Approach the conversation as a chance to see your friend’s heart the way Jesus does. Listen with intent. Not with the intention of changing their belief, but with the intent of understanding their love for Christ. Respect their words and their faith. Be careful not to allow your passion to become so elevated that it creates a wall of arrogance that ends the conversation.
3. Love. The greatest of all commandments, Jesus commands us to love one another as he has loved us. Remember that Jesus loves ALL of his children; Catholics are not the favorite child, as Jesus loves without judgment.
Proverbs 27:17 tells us, “Iron is sharpened by iron; one person sharpens another.” Don’t shy away from meaningful conversations regarding faith – even when disagreements are bound to happen. The attitude we entertain during these interactions have more of an impact than the words we speak. Remember – Joy, Gentleness, Love.