In my last article, Peace: Getting God’s Perspective, I discussed a variety of perspectives that keep people from having peace. One perspective is being afraid of God due to the sin in our lives. Subconsciously we fear His punishment and we can’t get peace.
I pointed out that God is love and those who are made perfect in love don’t have to fear punishment (1 John 4:18).
But how does that work? How are we made perfect in love? Doesn’t God have to punish sin?
In order to understand how God deals with sin, a distinction between PUNISHMENT and CORRECTION must be made (see my article, The Relationship Between Fear and Love).
Without Christ, man’s sin brings the WRATH of God, in this there is PUNISHMENT.
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the WRATH of God abideth on him.But the love of God removes punishment.
For God hath NOT appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.We become God’s children!
1 Thessalonians 5:9
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the SONS OF GOD: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.Because we are God’s children, He deals with us differently when it comes to sin. He deals with us like a FATHER (Hebrews 12:5-6). There is CORRECTION, not punishment.
1 John 3:1
God extends His mercy to us and all we have to do is ask Him to cleanse us from sin on a day to day basis (1 John 1:9).
This is one of the core principles of our faith, something we discussed in the first article of this series, How To Live the Christian Life (Principle #2).
This kindness of God, to extend His mercy and wash us from our sins, is God’s GENTLENESS.
The gentleness of God is always associated with KINDNESS and MERCY. Perhaps that’s why some Bible translations use the word “kindness” in the place of gentleness. (See why I prefer the King James Version in my article, Is There a Perfect Bible? Is the Bible Inerrant?).
King David said that God’s gentleness made him GREAT.
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.What is it about gentleness that makes you great?
Like King David, there are many times in our lives when we stumble and fall. Because we are under God’s grace, we have His mercy. We can go to God, confess our sins and He’ll cleanse us from our sins (1 John 1:9). His gentleness makes us great. This is so because God’s kindness allows us to grow, we aren’t stuck in our failures.
David was so enthusiastic about God’s gentleness (mercy) that he rested in it continually (Psalm 13:5). As a result, God blessed him. David reasoned that if God was for him, who could be against him? With confidence he asked, “Whom shall I fear?” (Psalm 27:1). Because David was contrite of heart, God made him invincible (Psalm 51:17). He would run through a troop, leap over a wall, and bend a bow of steel (Psalm 18:29, 34). Even nations obeyed his command (Psalm 18:43-44). Through it all, David remembered God (Psalm 18:46).
God’s gentleness can make you great too. But even more important, YOUR gentleness can make OTHERS great.
Here is my definition of gentleness: Gentleness is when you are upset or irritated with people, but you give them kindness and mercy anyway.
I’m in the service industry (airline). Sometimes people are rude. Rather than take offense, I mentally give them a break. I kill them with kindness. I am always amazed at how these same people change during the course of the flight. They go from being rude, to being kind and considerate. I’d like to think that my gentleness made them great.
God is a God of love. If you have submitted yourself to the cross of Christ, you have nothing to fear. God wants to work with you in overcoming any sin that is dominating your life. He wants to show you His gentleness. But you need to come to Him. You need to be willing to come under His correction. In the end, He will make you great. In turn your gentleness will make others great.
If Gentleness is the Fruit of the Spirit we express when we are upset with people. What is the Fruit of the Spirit we express when people are upset with us?
That’s the topic of my next article— Longsuffering.
Gentleness: The Antidote to Violence and Rage
Fruit of the Spirit Card