How then, after seeing all of this wonder in God the Father and God the Son, how then are believers included in this kind of gentleness as we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit?
Gentleness is Created by Jesus Christ
Religion cannot create gentleness. Only Jesus creates gentleness in the heart of the believer. Look at Matthew 11:25-30.
At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Pharisaical religion can only create more Pharisees or broken people. Harsh, burden bearing religion will either cause people to get with the system because they have to work hard to earn their salvation, or it will break people under the weight of religious burdens they were never meant to bear. You will be so devoted to working for your salvation that there will be no rest for your souls. But with Jesus, the rest for my soul is the starting point from which I launch out into joy-filled obedience.
Gentleness is Consideration of Others
We are gentle to others because of Jesus and his example and working in us, but the word “others” should be broken up into two different groups.
- We are gentle to believers as we deal with sin (Galatians 6:1-3): We know that Jesus doesn’t break the bruised reed. We know that Jesus won’t blow out the candle that is barely burning, so we treat our repentant, fallen brothers with gentleness, not with shouts of condemnation and glee over the illusion that they are more messed up than we are. You see that and you respond with, “Oh, really? You shout a lot.” Right. Sunday morning is a moment of proclamation to call sinners to repent of sin and religious people to repent of religion. That is preaching. Preaching is not conversation. Preaching declares and explains the Word of God. The restoration of an individual believer isn’t done in a sermon. It is done in individual relationships or before the corporate body in a gentle, dedicated way. Because Jesus called the crowd of Pharisees children of the devil and forbid them entrance to the kingdom in one breath and restored Peter with gentle words in the next. Both are necessary in the church.
- We are gentle before unbelievers as they see our gentility and are drawn to Christ Titus 3:1-2): Illustration: So, I charge you to treat food service employees well. You are considerate of them because you want Jesus to be made much of by your life. You are considerate of your brother in Christ because they will know we are Christians by our love for one another. We want unbelievers to see our gentility with one another and make much of Jesus because all the other church people they know tip lousy, leave stuff all over the floor and treat them like they are their slaves.