Periodically I’ll post devotionals that I write for our local church. This one was written about four months ago, but it was a good reminder to me and I hope it will encourage you today.
The Gentleness of Christ
We moved to a new house this weekend and so far, our daughter Ilah, has done very well with the transition. However, I went to put her down for a nap this afternoon and planned on writing the devotional. I asked the Lord to show me what he wanted me to write. As I was praying, Ilah just lost it. All her pent up emotion exploded in tears on my shoulder. I sang, I comforted, I did everything I could. But ultimately she just needed to cry. I felt such tenderness for her and knew that this was a difficult time. And suddenly, I understood that the Holy Spirit wanted to speak about his gentleness.
As we heard in the sermon on Sunday, Jesus did not chastise the blind man for crying out to him for mercy. Nor did he rebuke Zacchaeus for all his sin in front of the crowd. Instead, he gave the blind man sight, and he went into the house of Zacchaeus. What gentleness! The result was healing and salvation. Those touched by Jesus no doubt felt his tenderness and compassion. Like with my daughter, I did not need to rebuke her for losing her emotions or struggling with transition. She needed comfort. Jesus is the same with us. He is our heavenly father, and is ready with open arms to comfort his children.
Do you see yourself as Zacchaeus or the blind man? Is there much in your life where you need forgiveness or mercy or healing? These stories are not just about the men Jesus touched back in his time. It is about here and now. It is about the healing, miraculous and gentle touch of our Savior. This alone should bring a sigh of relief. We are his lambs; his precious ones. When we run to him, he does not publicly chastise us! Instead he welcomes us like the parable of the prodigal son. There are so many times in life when we need forgiveness and gentleness. Why then, do we so often run away from Christ, fearing wrath? Yes, he is just. Yes, he hates sin. But over and over again the Bible makes clear that Jesus came to seek and save the lost and welcome them with open arms to paradise and life eternal with him. This is our good news to share!
Friends, we must remember this when we want to judge or rebuke others. Rebuke has its place, but first we are to imitate the gentleness of God. We are “little Christs” and no servant is above his master. God will hold people accountable for their actions, but think of what might have happened if Jesus angrily rebuked Zacchaeus for how he collected taxes? Zacchaeus might have repented, but shame, humiliation and possibly anger could follow. Instead, he joyfully of his own accord repented and offered more back to all those he cheated. You cannot force or shame such abundance out of someone.
Think of someone you might be tempted to confront. First ask God for his gentleness! Secondly, ask God if there is anything you have been afraid of with him. Do you need forgiveness, inner or outer healing, or comfort? God will gladly hear your prayer in his love for you. Today, let’s both exercise and receive his gentleness.