When high school senior Angela Guidry submitted a copy of her valedictory speech to school administrators, the principal demanded that she leave out one part. It was the sentence that read, “To me the most important thing in your life is not whether you have a good education or a good job, but whether or not you have the Lord in your life.”

The situation worsened when the school counselor saw the speech. According to a news report, she “engaged in a tirade of criticism” of Angela in the presence of other students and actually grabbed her arm to keep her from walking away. All the while she continued making derogatory and slanderous remarks about Angela’s religious beliefs.

Sometimes believers invite hatred and rejection by presenting the truth in an insensitive manner. That was not the case with the Lord Jesus nor with Angela, and it should never be with us. But sometimes we will encounter hostility no matter how tactful we are. When this occurs, we should respond with gentle words and kind deeds, never with vindictive speech or retaliation (Mt. 5:43-44; Rom. 12:17-21). The gracious response of love is always the best antidote for the world’s hatred.