Are we gentle in dealing with the wayward?
I wander off. I am wayward. I drift. It happens.
It happens to others I know as well. What is my attitude? How should I act?
Isaiah 40:1–2 (NASB) — “Comfort, O comfort My people,” says your God. “Speak kindly to Jerusalem; And call out to her, that her warfare has ended, That her iniquity has been removed, That she has received of the Lord’s hand Double for all her sins.”
Luke 1:76–79 (NASB) — “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; For you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways; To give to His people the knowledge of salvation By the forgiveness of their sins, Because of the tender mercy of our God, With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, To shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.”
God’s gentleness is not always evident; God’s gentle dealings are not always appreciated. God is in a good mood. God is love! Love is kind.
- Isaiah 30:18–19 (NASB) — Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him. O people in Zion, inhabitant in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you.
- Isaiah 54:8 (NASB) — “In an outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, But with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,” Says the Lord your Redeemer.
- Isaiah 63:15 (NASB) — Look down from heaven and see from Your holy and glorious habitation; Where are Your zeal and Your mighty deeds? The stirrings of Your heart and Your compassion are restrained toward me.
- Hosea 2:13–15 (NASB) — “I will punish her for the days of the Baals When she used to offer sacrifices to them And adorn herself with her earrings and jewelry, And follow her lovers, so that she forgot Me,” declares the Lord. “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Bring her into the wilderness and speak kindly to her. “Then I will give her her vineyards from there, And the valley of Achor as a door of hope. And she will sing there as in the days of her youth, As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
- Romans 2:4 (NASB) — Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
Gentleness is a mark and a part of the character of a follower of Jesus. We know from Galatians 5:22 that gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. How do others know I am following Jesus? They see my gentleness. Jesus himself, in His Manifesto, said “Happy are those who are gentle (meek) for they will inherit the earth.”
The Greek word is πραΰτης praëtēs, prah-oo´-tace meaning mildness, humility or meekness. Jesus himself said we would be happy if we are gentle (meek). The benefit is we will inherit the earth.
The Apostle Paul reminds me that since I have been chosen by God, I will show compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. In each of these passages, gentleness is linked to other critical characteristics of the life of a Disciple.
Gentleness doesn’t come to me without these other attributes. It doesn’t and can’t stand on its own. I can’t be gentle without love and compassion. It takes great humility to be gentle. Patience is critical to gentleness.