Saturday, February 12, 2011

Gentle Giant

Excitement buzzed through the hall as Rupert Boneham was being introduced. Known as a "gentle giant" and voted the million dollar winner on Survivor, he'd come to help raise funds for a mission to Tanzania. He looked the same: shaggy beard, tie dyed shirt, and cargo pants.

Winning (he tapped his temple) was more a matter of mental stamina than physical. He referenced a competitor and noted the difference between a survivor and a conniver, observing that kindness doesn't always win.

But he was a winner in my books. He had paid off family debts, then used part of his award to establish "Rupert's Kids" to help at risk teens in Indianapolis to believe in themselves and unlearn the layers of destructive thinking.

His gruff persona and kindness reminded me of Peter who had been hand-selected to follow Jesus.

Peter, I'm sure, recalled the time he had let fear of others' angry opinions derail his vow to never betray Jesus. His impetuous self preservation had been replaced by a firm but gentle spirit. Transformed by Christ's forgiveness, Peter was now encouraging others.

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15b, NIV, italics mine).

Instead of retaliation or denial, they were to be prepared with a gentle answer. Blessing was to answer insult, a good conscience treasured, slander disregarded.

As Rupert did, Peter won his struggle to overcome his anger, fears and failures. More than a survivor, he was a winner because he had learned to "set apart Christ as Lord" (verse 15a).

That's what it takes. Christ as Lord. Whether I fail, break a toe, deal with slander, or endure whipping and prison, hardships can contour gentleness when they are given to the Lord Christ.

Peter followed another "Gentle Giant." Do you?


Read 1 Peter 3:8-22.

How have you experienced the gentleness of Christ's forgiveness?
How might God be directing you to bless another who has slandered or disappointed you?

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