“Seek the Lord, all who are humble, and follow His commands. Seek to do what is right and to live humbly. Perhaps even yet the Lord will protect you – protect you from His anger on that day of destruction.” (Zephaniah 2:3 NLT)
What picture comes to mind when you hear the word “gentleness?” This word is translated “meekness” in the KJV. The picture that comes to my mind is Jesus in the purple robe when the soldiers were mocking Him. The Bible says: “They (the soldiers) dressed him in a purple robe, and they wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on His head. Then they saluted Him and taunted, ‘Hail! King of the Jews!’ And they struck Him on the head with a reed stick, spit on Him, and dropped to their knees in mock worship.”
It makes me ashamed to be a human being when I read those awful words. It breaks my heart Jesus had to suffer those things in my place. That should have been me, not the spotless, sinless Lamb of God. Think of the millions of angels standing by, just waiting for any indication that Jesus was reaching out for them to rescue Him.
But think, too, of the authority of the One who withstood that torture. The One who spoke everything that is into existence, including the soldiers who now spit in His holy face. If only the thought had crossed His mind, those soldiers could have been incinerated in an instant. Earth would have quickly and expeditiously opened her massive jaws and swallowed them without so much as a burp.
What prevented Jesus from protecting Himself and calling for the forces of heaven and earth to come to His rescue? His gentleness. One way to think of what this means is “harnessed energy.” It’s power under control. It is atomic energy held in check.
How does any of this apply to us? Think of the driver who cuts you off. Or the person who thoughtlessly releases the door you’re about to walk through, forcing you to catch it to keep from walking into it. Or the less qualified employee who is chosen instead of you. Or the bully who makes your child’s life a living hell. These and a million other examples characterize what it means to allow the fruit of gentleness to fill your heart and mind.
How often in the course of our daily lives the temptation to exercise our “authority,” or “defend” our integrity, or intercede on behalf of our child or family, puts us on the threshold of destroying everything we’ve worked so hard to gain as a faithful follower of the Lord.
Gentleness enables us to hold our temper, keep our mouths shut, walk away, congratulate the one who took “our” job, pray for the one who is rude to us or seeks to cheat or belittle us, or anyone who in any way demeans us and seeks to make us feel small, insignificant, or unimportant.
Please understand, I’m not suggesting we, as Jesus never was, a mat for anyone to walk on. We, by the power of God’s Holy Spirit, constrain ourselves, keeping ourselves under control, not because we aren’t strong enough or capable enough, but because we ARE. Christ’s loving strength shines most brightly in and through our gentle response to cruelty, thoughtlessness, unkindness, and the like. We can respond, but not in anger or revenge.
The same Jesus who spoke this world into existence, walked out of His tomb, proving to the world and to all who would one day believe, that He is the Almighty God. One day soon that harnessed energy of our gentle Savior will become the unleashed power of the Lion of Judah as He returns to planet Earth. He’s not coming back to take sides. He’s coming back to take over. We’d best know with certainty whose side we’re on when that day comes.
Food for thought.
Blessings, Ed 😊