Bold yet Peaceable
1 Many people to whom we preach express sincere beliefs that are contrary to Bible truth. While we must preach with boldness, we also wish to “be peaceable with all men” and to avoid giving needless offense. (Rom. 12:18; Acts 4:29) How can we be bold and yet peaceable as we present the Kingdom message?
2 Find Areas of Agreement: A peaceable person avoids arguments. Needlessly challenging a householder’s strongly held beliefs will not put him in a receptive frame of mind. If he makes a wrong statement, perhaps we can tactfully introduce a point on which there might be agreement. By emphasizing what we hold in common, we may be able to disarm any negative feelings and appeal to his heart.
3 If we let a householder’s incorrect viewpoint pass, are we compromising or watering down the truth? No. Our assignment as Christian ministers is, not to refute every misconception we encounter, but to preach the good news of God’s Kingdom. (Matt. 24:14) Rather than overreacting when an incorrect viewpoint is expressed, we can view it as an opportunity to gain insight into the person’s thinking.—Prov. 16:23.
4 Preserve Dignity: There are times when we must be bold and courageous when refuting wrong teachings. As peaceable persons, however, we refrain from ridicule as well as the use of derogatory terms to describe those who believe and teach error. An air of superiority alienates, but a humble and kindly approach opens the minds of lovers of truth. Showing respect for our listeners and their beliefs preserves their dignity, thus making it easier for them to accept our message.
5 The apostle Paul considered the beliefs of those he preached to and sought to present the good news in a way that would appeal to their hearts. (Acts 17:22-31) He willingly became “all things to people of all sorts,” that he “might by all means save some.” (1 Cor. 9:22) We can do the same by being peaceable as we boldly preach the good news.