Sunday, 22 January 2012

Gentle

There are a few passages in the Old Testament which state that the "Messiah" (the one that God sends to rescue His people) will be gentle.  For example:
  • Isaiah 40:11: He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.
  • Isaiah 42:1-3: Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets.  A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
  • Zech 9:9: Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
The last of these passages was shown (in Matthew Chapter 21) to have been fulfilled by Jesus.  Moreover, Jesus Himself stated that gentleness is an aspect of His character in this beautiful passage:
  • Matt 11:28-30: [Jesus said:] "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
It is a source of comfort to me that, although God is all-powerful, and completely righteous, He also values gentleness.

There are many passages in the New Testament which state that Christians should aim to be gentle in their dealings with others.  For example:
  • Gal 5:22-23: The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
  • Eph 4:2: Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
  • Phil 4:5: Let your gentleness be evident to all.
  • Col 3:12: As God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
  • 1 Thess 2:6-7: As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children.
  • 1 Tim 6:10-11: Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
  • 2 Tim 2:24: The Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
  • Titus 3:2: Speak evil of no one, avoid quarreling, be gentle, and show perfect courtesy toward all people.
  • 1 Peter 3:3-5: [A woman's] beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of the inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.
If we call ourselves Christians but are habitually harsh, cruel, argumentative or intimidating, then perhaps we need to confess our disobedience to God, and ask God to cleanse our hearts.

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