My college-age sons don't go to church. The fact is that although they grew up coming to church and being in the youth group, the world presents a pretty confusing face of Christianity to them. They are, understandably, having a difficult time seeing what people do in the world in the name of Christianity and reconciling that image to what they grew up thinking of Christianity.
Today's reading gives us instructions, though, in how we as Christians are supposed to act. Peter says to "(a)lways 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." If Christians actually did this, my sons may not have as many problems with being Christians in today's world.
When I meet someone who seems perpetually happy, or kind, or gracious, I wonder if they are a Christian who lives Peter's teachings. I want to be that person. I want to be the kind of Christian that no one ever questions about my motives or why I am the way I am. I want to be a "Peter" Christian. I want to be able to tell anyone why I hope, or why I'm happy, grateful or whatever. I would love for them to ask me to give me an opportunity to tell them about God's boundless love for me. And I would love to tell them with the greatest of love and respect. So that they too can feel what I have felt.
Unfortunately, I'm not quite there yet. It may be a constant struggle throughout my life to leave aside my petty complaints, such as "Man, I worked hard today" or "Traffic was awful" or whatever I may use to forgive myself for my behavior. But, I will keep working on it because the end result is so worth it.