Jonathan Edwards and Resolutions (58): Be Cheerful in Your Interactions with Others
58. Resolved, not only to refrain from an air of dislike, fretfulness, and anger in conversation, but to exhibit an air of love, cheerfulness and benignity. May 27, and July 13, 1723.
Is a word ever described our culture it is the word anger. And yes, Christians should be different. In an overly connected digital world, many of our 'relationships' are marked by what Edwards would call 'dislike, fretfulness, and anger'. Yet Christians should, even when dealing publicly with difficult situations surrounding sin, do so with love, cheerfulness, and kindness (or relational tolerance).
Its God's uncompromising kindness that leads men toward repentance of sin and trust in Christ Jesus (Rom. 2:4) and we should model that sort of approach.
Peter talks about this in 1 Peter 3:15-17:
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
As we honor the Lord God as holy, we will, out of an overflow of gratitude for Christ, give a defense for the good deposit entrusted to us. But look at what Peter says, in this passage: He states that we are to give a defense to those who ask for a reason for the hope that is within us. This means we must be approachable. And when we open our mouths to speak of the glories of Jesus, we are to do so in humility and reverence for God. This is how we image Christ in our relationships with other people. Those that God has placed in our lives (no matter how trying they may be) are created in His image and we honor Him and love them when we engage them with respect, love, and dignity for the purpose of seeing them reconciled to God. So, be cheerful, be whimsical and fear God.