Friday, May 08, 2009



One night our kids were supposed to be cleaning up the toy room and they didn’t. Mike sat down and asked them what they thought they deserved. They all said they deserved to be punished. But Mike graciously pardoned them from their deserved fate.

Have you ever had the experience when you knew you were in trouble and were steeling yourself for an angry response? My attitude in those situations is usually “bring it on!” and I’ll harden my heart to protect myself. But there have been times when what I actually got was not harsh discipline but gentle grace and it breaks right through me.

Gentleness is a powerful thing. Gentleness is meekness, willing submission and rest in God.

There are a lot of images of Jesus’ gentleness in the Bible as a shepherd, healer and savior. I think my favorite story of Jesus showing gentleness is the story of The Adulterous Woman in John 8:1-11. Talk about having your sin hung out for the world to see! The Pharisees found a woman caught in the act and brought her out to have her stoned. They were more interested in trapping Jesus than punishing the woman. I suppose they thought they could kill two birds with one stone - so to speak. Anyway, Jesus starts writing something on the ground. And He says, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7) Then he starts writing again! They began to turn and leave until only Jesus and the woman were left. And I can just imagine him helping her up and telling her "Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin."

Can it get any better than that? He shuts down the Pharisees without saying a word!

And, even better, he offers us his gentleness.

Matthew 11:29
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for you souls.

In this world full of hate and rage and anger, having Christ-like gentleness is beyond important. I am not sure we can win the world over to Christ by trying to out-protest, out-shout, or out-politicize others. But by showing the undeserved gentle grace of Christ people can see the life-changing love of that He offers.

1 Peter 3:15 offers some input that
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always 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.

Gentleness and meekness are not the way of our world, it’s another counter-cultural part of following Christ. The world says we should do the best for ourselves no matter what the cost. But Jesus shows us a different way and, from the looks of how things are going in the world so far, it’s a better way.

I’m not sure I could really classify myself as a naturally gentle person. When I think about gentleness, I think back to those first moments holding a brand new baby. All the emotions of joy, awe and tenderness. A precious new life that you softly caress a cheek and so much want to protect.

Although in my own family, those precious moments are giving way to two year old temper tantrums, school projects and baseball games. Don’t get me wrong, there are precious moments now too but I seem to always be giving direction, structure, discipline (which are all also needed). It doesn’t seem as natural to pour gentleness on to our family. But it’s still a vital part of what they need.

Mercy, grace and gentleness are avenues for pointing my kids to Christ. It’s such a powerful way to break through our hardness of heart and learn to love like Jesus.

And it’s powerful in drawing me closer to Him. In the face of all I do wrong, oh do I need his gentle grace!

Philippians 4:5
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

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