Monday, July 01, 2013

God's Gentleness

“...Thy gentleness hath made me great.”Psalm 18:35c

Dearest Lord,

I think there is a tendency in me to view you in the opposite way of this verse, which is ironically situated between verses where David speaks of You helping him war against his enemies. As I feed on this verse, I believe I am introduced to a side of You that I need to know more about and then to follow.

Lord, there are those in Christendom, myself included (in more times than I care to admit), who are the opposite of this principle. They aren't gentle with their words in proclaiming the Gospel and Biblical truth. Perhaps I may be judging incorrectly, but I feel, rather, I believe they show and/or expose something within their own sin natures that is attracted toward a sinful anger and hate, which they then disguise in terms of God being just, hating every evil way, etc. While that is true about You, so also is the principle of You being gentle toward us, displaying perfect long suffering toward us who tempt You often with our sin and who fail daily in pleasing You. We live in a dispensation when Your grace triumphs, a time that precedes when the finger of Your wrath touches the earth.

With that said, Lord, there are others, again myself included depending on the subject, whose sin nature is attracted too far in error to the idea of Your gentleness, and they fail to stand firm against sin, for fear of controversy, not being liked, etc.

So, can I conclude there is a balance to Your gentleness that we ought to apply to our own lives?

One of the verses that has stood out to me in recent years is Isaiah 42:2, which shows a snapshot of Your humanness on earth and how You approached men. “He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.” While this can clearly be applied to how You did not answer Your accusers at the time of Your crucifixion, it was illustrated to me by a pastor in a class I was taking that it also speaks of how You approached men by not raising Your voice, and, can I add, yelling at them? To me, this is yet another verse that illustrates Your gentleness.

So, why do we as Christians spend our time belittling and tearing down one another under the cloak of “standing for the truth,” when this was not Your way. Yes, You were direct in Your words against the Pharisees, for example, but if You've commanded us in other places of Scripture to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), surely it can be interpreted that was what You were doing.

You are all-knowing, possess perfect wisdom, and know the hearts of all men. While You walked this earth, Your life, Your words, and Your deeds were all motivated by a perfect love You have toward all mankind. It is our rejection of that truth on some level that makes us ugly, bitter people, who tear down instead of build up. It is also a rejection of that truth that makes us too passive toward sin and keep quiet when You call us to reach out to the lost by showing them their sin so that they may see why they need You.

And Lord, I don't understand all this perfectly myself, but there has to be a truth where we can honestly follow Your example of gentleness toward men and Your warning Spirit.

For gentleness, we can rest on Romans 12:18, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with ALL men.” As for Your warning Spirit, as in the case of the woes against the Pharisees in Matthew 23, we can follow Your example of clearly exposing sin, yet pairing it with the same loving sentiment You had in that chapter in verse 37, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”

In other words, there has to be a right way of talking to and about others where we don't allow our sin natures to be attracted to a sinful hate and anger OR attracted to an unrighteous, sin-condoning “love” toward men. That we are simply true to You and Your word, in truth and love. And gentleness.

Thank You, Jesus, for Your time and the meat of Your word. Continue to open my eyes and break up the fallow ground of my heart, so that I may see and perceive You and Your truth more clearly, in order that I may produce fruit that remains for Your glory.

Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”—Colossians 4:6

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”—2 Timothy 2:24-26

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.”—2 Timothy 4:2

Spokane, WA (June 2009)

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