The phrase comes back to me often. I suppose it happens when a lot of the grit and grime are washed out and God lets me see a substrate and pure means of Christian expression. I feel I’m doing something “that Jesus would do”. And just because we don’t have the good feelings we think should accompany every act, doesn’t mean Jesus isn’t smiling looking on. Really, it’s the motive and attitude of our heart that tells in those times. And so, without further ado, here we go again: “The Tenets of Jesus”. What should the second tenet be? I’m just going to pluck out gentleness as one worth elucidating. I should like to describe it in light of the space between someone, anyone who has a go-getting, type-A personality and not necessarily inclined to slow down one whit, and someone crawling along for God knows what reason. Be gentle.
“He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench: He shall bring forth judgment unto truth.” (Isaiah 42:2-3)
I know of no better scripture to describe the gentleness of Jesus. He is so gentle that He’s imperceptible if we are in pride and not looking for Him. But how does this play out with those we meet? When Jesus says “If any [one] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24), one of the best ways I can do this is to not overpower someone with my personality. It doesn’t mean that you’re not the strong, confident and assertive person you always are–you just don’t need to show people. Because Jesus is the same. And He will validate that about you. He’s had to do it for me. I find that if I act in ways that aren’t in keeping with His gentleness throughout my day, I tend to turn people off. And why? If I’m representing Him and yet not acting as He would, I’m not doing Him any favors. Then again, it’s something that the Holy Spirit has slowly (and gently) intimated to me. And “gentleness” is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23). He’s got all you need.
“God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. The woman saith unto Him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when He is come He will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.” (John 4:24-26)
Firm but gentle. Jesus, in His conversation with the woman at the well of Samaria gives her everything she needs: validation, conviction, purpose and peace. She’s smart. Not just anyone could convince her of some better way. And so, Jesus filled that space between where she was and he, with gentleness.
“Thou hast also given me the shield of Thy salvation: and Thy right hand hath holden me up, and Thy gentleness hath made me great.” (Psalm 18:35) Don’t forget to be a servant (see part 1).