Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:25-26
The majority of the world is against Christians. They do not believe in God and do not want anything to do with Jesus. There are some who are violently against believers and will get physical in their opposition. The rest just oppose believers in words. Either way they act, they are opponents to those who follow Jesus.
All of these people have been taken captive by the traps of the devil. They are living as the devil desires, doing his will to oppose Jesus.
Many believers are willing to take a stand against those who oppose Christ. The problem is that there have been many who have done so in a way that is not the way Jesus would respond to opponents. They have harshly condemned the opponents, struck them, physically destroyed their property and more.
Jesus rarely used violence. The only time He used a little violence was in the temple against those who were religious, and then it was not against them physically, but against their stuff. Jesus had spoken with kind words almost every time. He worked to draw people to Him, not push them away.
Paul told Timothy to speak gently with his opponents. He is to show love and care to them. Jesus had stated that believers are to love their enemies.
Speaking gently is to speak kind words as one points out where a person may be wrong. It is pointing a person to Jesus and His words. It is showing love, compassion, mercy and grace to a person. The goal is to get them to become a follower of Jesus, not beat them down.
You will have people who will be an opponent to you. Some may be just verbally violent, while others may be physically violent. Jesus had both types against Him. How you speak and react to them will show how much of a follower of Jesus you are.
Give them a chance to change and choose to follow Jesus. Do not just condemn them and give up on them. Jesus did not speak harshly with you and did not give up on you.
I pray today that you will know the gentleness of Jesus; that you will show God’s love to all people; that God will give you the words to speak to your opponents; and that many will come to Jesus through your message.