Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
In Part 1, I introduced this topic of gentleness. Is it OK to be gentle? Yes, it’s quite alright, in spite of some people thinking, toughness always wins. The Scriptures do have some very positive things to say about showing a gentle attitude. Mainly, because God is gentle in his dealings with us.
There are three main things I want to say today.
Remember the gentleness of Jesus
First, remember the gentleness of Jesus. This is a powerful example. If you need to be more gentle in your dealings with others, start by being overwhelmed by the gentleness of God shown in his Son Jesus Christ. I need to remind myself that I need to treat others as God has treated me. We are completely undeserving of his love and patience. But he never wrote us off. Jesus is still there, forgiving, loving and nurturing us.
Jesus said in Mathew:
Come to me all of you who are tired from carrying your heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light. (Matthew 11:28-30 -GNT).
The Prophet saw the time Jesus would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey on Palm Sunday: “See your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey” (Matthew 21:5 – NIV). Jesus the Messiah, the King, came as royalty, but also a humble and gentle king. Jesus knew people so well that he wasn’t harsh with them unless he had to. He was criticised for not taking a hard stand.
But remember the day Jesus visited Simon the Pharisee. Luke records how a woman came into the house to see Jesus, and fell at his feet with perfume to anoint them. She was deeply upset over her sinful life and at this time Jesus understood her feelings and said to her, “your sins are forgiven”. Others in the house said to one another, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” But Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace”. It is a beautiful story of restoration and gentleness, not shared by many others that day, who would have criticised her for breaking into a social occasion.
Be gentle to yourself
Secondly, what about showing some gentleness to yourself? Often you hear people berating themselves for foolish things they did years ago. They still carry around the regrets of yesterday—maybe there was a foolish business investment, and you made a few mistakes. We all make mistakes of one kind or another. That’s life. But why punish yourself for the rest of your days?
The Christian life is one of learning and growing, and allowing God to take control of each day and night. He understands your frailty as a human being, and knows you’re not perfect. Perhaps you feel you have made serious mistakes, or brought shame on your family. We can’t erase those events, but we can seek the presence of Jesus today to bring healing and wholeness to our lives. And he has promised to do that. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Be gentle with others
Finally, be gentle with others. No-one, apart from God, is perfect. Your wife or husband will fail you, and your children will disappoint you. The time will come when you have a legitimate gripe. You’ll be right, and they are wrong. What are you going to do then? Condemn them or understand them? Taking the road of gentleness means stopping to remember how God has treated you. Sure, life is tough. We can choose to live our lives disappointed with everyone around us, or we can be armed with the virtue of gentleness.
It won’t happen overnight, but with his grace indwelling our hearts, we can learn to be gentle in our responses. If a work colleague snaps back one day at you for no reason, just stop and ask yourself, What is this all about? What is really going on here? Gaining control and with God’s inner peace, you don’t have to retaliate. Instead show gentleness.
Gentleness simply makes life far more pleasant. It’s bringing the spirit of Jesus into a potentially difficult situation, and allowing for a calm response. It doesn’t mean avoiding unpleasantness, but it does mean less likelihood of angry and ill-chosen words coming out.