The world we are living is seems absolutely given over to controversy. It seems that we are walking around looking for a reason to be offended, and then we expect our offense to be validated with the expulsion of whatever offends us. What if our being offended offends someone? Nope…that is not allowed. You are not allowed to be offended that I am offended. I was offended first.
When you watch the news it is full of fighting, and anger, and rioting, and protests. It is a violent world.
Into that world God sends a group of people he likens to doves and sheep in their actions. Gentle creatures.
Wait! Someone will say. Aren’t we also told to be wise as serpents? Serpents are gentle are they?
No…serpents are not gentle. However, it is important to notice that we were told to be wise as serpents in our thoughts and discernment, but harmless as doves in our actions. Essentially we are to be smart, discerning, gentle people.
This gentleness is the mark of a person who is led by the Holy Spirit.
Let’s look at a couple of passages concerning this thought:
1Thessalonians 2:7 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:
2Timothy 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
Titus 3:1-2 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.
Paul said that he and his team were gentle among the Thessalonian Christians: just like a nursing mother would be with her baby, or a nanny would be with the children she is caring for.
This gentleness was not forced. It came from a Spirit-filled life.
Paul tells Timothy that the servant of the Lord “must not strive.” He is referring to having the spirit of gentleness as opposed to an attitude always looking for an argument or conflict.
If fear that there are far too many ministers of God with the attitude of the latter.
However, it is not just to be the attitude of ministers. In Paul’s letter to Titus he instructs Titus to teach the people under his care to be gentle unto all men, saved and lost.
Christians are to be gentle people. I know when I say that, some will think I am advocating pacifism. I am not, but I grow weary of the attitude of conflict that comes far too readily to the surface in the body of Christ. You can say you are contending for the faith, but are you? Dear one…could it not be that you simply enjoy a good fight a little too much?
We have an enemy to fight, but it is not our neighbor. It isn’t flesh and blood at all. We have a cause to stand for, but it can be done with humility and gentleness.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful, if in this violent world, this world of wolves, there were this group of people who were gentle?
Heavenly Father, gentleness is not an attribute of the flesh. I ask today that you produce this fruit in my life, through the Holy Spirit, as I submit myself to you. Teach me to be gentle with my fellow man. When others reach for insults and hate, let me be gentle. When others seek a controversy, let me be gentle. I cannot do it without you: but with you…I can do all things. In Jesus name, amen.