“You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great.” – Psalm 18:35
Gentleness, it’s a topic we dads don’t often talk about when we chat about raising kids. Oh yeah, we’ll talk about discipline, training, and toughening kids up as part of our manput (that’s manly + input for those of you who don’t follow familial lingo) into the life of our family. Yet, gentleness is that often overlooked trait that is a must for healing the maladies that plague us today. Let’s talk about gentleness and how much you appreciate it, from the perspective of a cold sufferer.
When I have a cold, I get cranky, and nothing gets me riled up quicker than an empty Kleenex box with rough paper towel as the alternative. Paper towel is my nose’s nemesis. You know that feeling. Your cold is chugging forward on full steam. You nose is running faster than Usain Bolt. Your raw skin is redder than Santa’s cheeks. Then that dastardly event hits. It can strike anywhere - while you’re riding in a car, in a meeting at work, or in the hallway at school when you sneeze. You kindly ask for that precious commodity of facial tissue, hoping for one of those name brands like Kleenex with aloe, when someone hands you the dreaded brown paper towel of death. They may be trying to help, but you resent them as you have no choice but to rip your face off with this rough substitute for soothing nasal salvation.
You may laugh at my hyperbole, but I think it’s similar to what is happening in our communities and families today. The world around us is suffering; sometimes it’s our own families that suffer. Some are being battered and beaten by falsehoods, fake news, and self-serving ideologies that plague our culture, while others are simply indulging, unaware of the consequences, of these dastardly dilemmas. Many families today are red and raw from the daily grind of balancing work, family, study, health, and spirituality, and they find themselves caught up in worldly escapes of handling these struggles. Kids are misbehaving, spouses are fighting, and even world leaders are struggling with the wrong remedies for their problems. Don’t believe me? Well answer this question. When was the last time you heard an insulted politician reply with, “That’s OK, Jesus told me to turn the other cheek.” Why can’t you remember the last time? It’s probably because this world now touts roughness, rudeness, and rancor as its go-to reaction when someone else is struggling. These remedies to problems are the equivalent of the brown paper towel for your nose; they’ll only make matters worse.
People all over are ill and need healing relief, but some of us Bible believers have become Bible thumpers and have been caught by culture handing them rough paper towels of self-righteous judgment, condescension, and verbal combativeness instead of soothing relief for their “sin”us drip. The Good doctor has prescribed a better way.
Jesus came not with rough and rude speech to correct problems but to offer healing from sin and the physical maladies He touched on earth, and he came to do with gentleness. “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.” (Matthew 9:35) . Then again in Matthew 11:28-29 He says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 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.”
While you and I certainly aren’t Jesus, He did give us a mission in His healing process that includes us drawing other people to the Healer while we share comfort, hope, and encouragement. From your face-to-face interactions with family to your Facebook reactions with souls who are ill from this world’s sin-sickness, are you the Kleenex with aloe or that resented and rough brown paper towel?
Remember the direction Paul gives to young Titus as he preps him to deal with the world, “To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.”(Titus 3:2) Consider this line in the epistle to the believers in Galatia, “If anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:1-2)
Families are struggling in America, but not just with coronavirus and a virus caused colds, but are struggling with sin-sickness. Jesus wants you to be part of the soothing and healing process. As you bring your family and others to the Good Doctor for healing, look at yourself and grade which type of facial wipe you represent to those struggling with sin-sickness.
If you are more of the brown paper towel type, then maybe it’s time for you to have a healing visit to the Great Physician today. May God bless you, your family, and the world through His gentleness.