By Linda Clyde, contributor

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Wow, Did You Just Say That?

Have you ever been blindsided by a comment that mocks your faith or the faith of someone in your social circle? It can be pretty uncomfortable. So, besides standing in stunned silence, what are your options?

Silence Isn’t Faith-Friendly

Gathering the courage to speak up will benefit all involved. It’s not okay to allow someone to poke fun of what’s sacred in your life. When your beliefs are mocked by another it’s often a sign of their ignorance. If you find yourself in a situation where your faith is being mocked, see it as an opportunity in disguise. Take the opportunity (and a deep breath) to calmly explain why your faith means so much to you. By helping others understand how your faith helps you in your life, they’re more likely to show you respect and maybe even defend your position in similar situations with others in the future. Knowledge is power, so share what you know, especially with those who don’t quite seem to understand.

A quick study on faith reveals why it’s a pretty special asset. But there’s nothing quite like knowing and experiencing the benefits for yourself.

Defend, Not Defensive

Defending your faith doesn’t mean getting defensive. In the face of a snide comment or thoughtless remark, remember that kindness, respect, and brotherly love are always the best route. Don’t allow others to bait you into an argument about your faith. Faith should never be on the table for debate.

Criticism, a Catalyst?

Remember that critics have their place. Their critical attitude and comments often serve as a catalyst for believers to develop deeper conversion and increased faith. Believers who face bullying often have to dig deeper and ask themselves important questions about what they believe and why. Faith can be fortified by thoughtfully and prayerfully searching for answers to the questions they pose. Conversely, believers can strengthen the faithless by gracefully defending their beliefs, posing questions of their own, and remaining true to what they proclaim to believe.

Many stories exist of individuals who, when life dealt them a tough blow, found their faith. Critics sometimes discover the value of faith for themselves. A remarkable example is the true story of the wife of the famous author C.S. Lewis, Helen Joy Davidman.

Keep the Faith

If you find yourself around someone who refuses to show the same respect to you that you’re making efforts to extend to them, consider replacing your company long before you replace your faith.

How to Keep Your Faith Under FireDiscover More:

7 Things C. S. Lewis Taught Us About Faith

How to Have Better Interfaith Friendships and Conversations

Bridging Faith Across Generations