A couple years ago, I read Carl Medearis’ book, “Speaking of Jesus,” and it helped change the way I live out and talk about my faith in Jesus. In his book, Medearis talks about how we sometimes feel the need to “defend” our faith by getting into arguments over someone questioning our faith. Throughout the book, he simply explains that loving people, the way Christ loved people, is the most powerful way to point them toward the Gospel.
We are faced with these choices everyday. Even though I still fail, I have tried to apply these principles to my daily life as a husband, father and teammate.
Most days, we all have countless conversations with our friends, family members and co-workers. It could be a conversation about politics, religion or maybe a tough decision you made recently. Sometimes these conversations lead to comments or questions that are made just to see how we react or what we might say back. Maybe someone knowingly expresses an opinion or makes a statement that directly contradicts with something that you believe. Since reading this book, I have tried to think more about how I react in these situations.
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” — 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
It is not easy to stay calm when someone calls into question your character or faith. Our natural instinct is to get defensive about it. But what if instead of arguing with them, we share why it is that we live the way we do? What if we are able keep a conversation that could easily become an argument, and make sure it is always filled with love?
Jesus had many people confront Him, and even mock Him for who He said He was, but how many times did He lose His cool in those times? His Godly instinct was loving everyone just the way they were. He let them ask the provocative questions and make the accusations, and yet He responded gracefully and lovingly every single time. Jesus did the best things for even the worst people, and anyone who looks at the life He lived cannot argue with that.
During my time with the Twins, I have had a great opportunity to spend time with teammates and grow stronger in my walk with the Lord. The friendships I have developed with my teammates have been an amazing blessing, but it’s not always easy! When you have 25 guys from 25 different backgrounds on one team, you will have 25 different ways of life, but it’s important to be cohesive. You can’t let others’ opinions or disagreements become a distraction for you; instead we are called to be part of a locker room that loves people no matter what.
That’s what I aim to do with my teammates, and the best way that I know how to do that is by showing them Christ through me.
— Kyle Gibson, Minnesota Twins pitcher
The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit TheIncrease.com for more stories and videos.