“Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” – 1 Peter 3:15
Years ago, I completed a course in first aid. The purpose in taking the class was to fulfill a workplace requirement that at least one person on site be trained and prepared to render emergency assistance if the need arose. In the event of an accident, health incident, or some other crisis, our actions could make the difference between life and death. The class included instructions from a manual and we were also given a quick reference card which we were encouraged to keep readily available.
Not long after taking that class, while studying my Sunday school lesson I was presented with the question, “What is our responsibility when we observe that a brother or sister is having spiritual difficulties?” As I contemplated that thought, some of the lessons from the first aid course came to mind. I realized that the principles of first-aid can also apply to a “spiritual emergency.” Such situations would include encountering someone who does not know God and is in a place of desperation in life, or perhaps someone who is a Christian but is struggling critically with doubts or temptations. Any number of scenarios could be presented to us at any time, and today’s focus verse charges us to “be ready always” to give an answer to everyone who asks the reason of our hope. It is of utmost importance that we are prepared to act in those moments, for there may be no one else on site who can help.
In the first aid class, we were given manuals of safety information for various emergencies. As Christians, our manual is the Bible. It contains the answers that can help others in times of need, and it is our responsibility to study and know what it says. The first aid class also encouraged us to keep a quick reference card on hand; we could compare that to Gospel literature, daily devotionals, or a Bible app that can be useful in an instant. We also have the invaluable benefit of calling on the Holy Spirit to give guidance and wisdom for every challenge we face.
In first aid, one crucial response is to “stop the bleeding.” I remember an occasion several years ago when a brother took offense at the careless words of another. Spiritually speaking, he was bleeding. I’ll never forget the “dressing” offered immediately by another brother in the form of a few kind and well-reasoned words. The effect was quick and positive—he got the bleeding to stop. We cannot take care of every problem that comes our way, but if we will administer the aid, God will provide the healing.