“Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in Gods sight…” 1 Peter 3: 1-4
The way to attract people to Jesus, as my pastor recently said, is by the way Christians show God’s love, and not just through theological arguments – apologetics – as important as apologetics are.
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20
After the fall of the Roman Empire, pagan barbarians were on the loose. After plagues hit the area, people who could help the sick ran away ran away, as did Sir Arthur and his men in Monty Python and The Holy Grail from the killer rabbit. https://youtu.be/7FPELc1wEvk
Not thinking of themselves but of the sick, the Christians stayed and tended to the plague stricken populace. This helped win people over to Christ.
In Roman culture, women were treated poorly, like cattle and prostitutes. The culture had a utilitarian view of women. I think that Nero not only fiddled while Rome burned; he had a gangsta rap band that sounded like Santa Clause: (Ho, Ho, Ho…) when rapping about women.
Women were the first converts when the Roman empire fell. Christianity fostered honor and respect for them. They married pagans who happened to be in the area. The men were won over by the behavior of these women, by their example, and were converted to Christianity. http://thefederalist.com/2016/09/20/what-todays-christians-can-learn-from-antiquity-about-living-in-a-pagan-world/
Fast forward to the 21st century: My dear friend and companion Sandi showed her unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit when she was in the nursing home, where the Lord took her home after fighting stage IV cancer for three years. Although Sandi loathed the idea of going to a nursing home, once there, instead of being bitter, having even more freedom taken away from her, her gentle, quiet spirit showed. Sandi pleasantly returned greetings from those taking care of her, smiled at them, and even thanked them! She said about one aide who smiled at her, “at least he’s friendly.”
When asked about her salvation, Sandi would answer “Jesus is in my heart.”
“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” 1 Peter 3:7
Although Sandi and I were not married, we had the kind of commitment needed for a Godly marriage. When people assumed we were married, I was slow to correct them, sometimes weeks later. Sometimes longer. After wrestling with dealing with the difficulties dealing with Sandi, I decided to be fully committed to her. God empowered me to visit Sandi every day, all day, in the nursing home, where I hand fed her, talked with her, read Bible verses and Christian stories Chaplain Dale printed out for us and “Our Daily Bread”. I had been doing such reading all along. Sandi was in this nursing home before for physical rehabilitation. Her former roommate remembered me reading to Sandi in their room. “You asked us questions,” Cheryl reminisced.
One night, as I walked out of Sandi’s room at 10 p.m., another resident in a wheelchair approached me in the hallway. “I salute you”, he said, for the way I was taking care of Sandi, and shook my hand. “I’ve been watching you,” he said. I didn’t know he was watching me. This wasn’t the case when I was feeding Sandi in the hallway when I took her out in the Jerry Chair when a staff member passed by and said. “God bless, God bless – what caring!”.
Disclaimer: I still have issues I have to work with God to help me on. I scolded two of Sandi’s obnoxious roommates, one on each of the floors she lived on. Although the roommates were obnoxious, I should have showed more self control, a fruit of the spirit. In a letter to the nursing home, I apologized for overreacting in these cases. I told Chaplain Dale of my failure. He said that he can understand some problems between people when they are in such close quarters. But still, I could have done better. God’s still working on me.
After completing my marathon at the nursing home, I’ve started going to shared meals for the homeless and needy more regularly. Now I’m back in the saddle again, socializing more with the homeless. Broken friendships have been reconciled. This is where God wants me. I continue to work on writing a book on homelessness. At the last shared meal at Restoration Church in Levittown, PA, I told one of the hosts that I wanted to leave the nursing home with Sandi. He reminded me that God’s got things for me to do.
Our nation today is much like the Roman empire before it fell. Like the Romans, our country is in a state of moral decay, having turned from God. Take the opioid epidemic (please), homosexuality, abortion, pornography, prostitution… Like the Christians during Roman times, we have to hang in there and keep the faith, being His ambassadors, and be a light to a dark world.
“On those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2