Gentleness is not weakness. The true man is always strong.
High up on the Alps, on some bald crag, on the edge of the eternal snows, tourists sometimes find a sweet, lovely flower growing. That is gentleness – the mighty rock, immovable and unchanging; and on it growing the tender, fragrant bloom. Gentleness is essential to complete manliness – but gentleness is beautiful only when it is combined with strength.
Christ is gentle in dealing with sufferers.
Skill in giving comfort is very rare. Many people are sure to speak the wrong word when they sit down beside those who are in pain or trouble. Job’s friends were “miserable comforters.” They tried to make Job believe that he had displeased God, and that this was why so much evil had come upon him. Many good people think that when they sit beside a sufferer or a mourner, they must talk about the trouble – entering into all its details, and dwelling upon all that makes it painful and hard to endure. But the truest comforter is not the one who seems to sympathize the most deeply, going down into the depths with him who is in grief; but the one who sympathizes with the sufferer, and yet brings cheer and uplifting – setting a vision of Christ before the mourning eyes, and singing of peace and hope.
It is thus that Christ deals with pain and sorrow. He does not seek to take away the burden; rather, He makes us brave and strong to bear it.
Christ is also very gentle with those who have sinned and are trying to begin again.
He has no tolerance with sin, but He is infinitely patient with the sinner. There is a story of an incorrigible soldier who had been punished so often for so many offences, without avail, that his commanding officer despaired of the man’s amendment. Again, he was under arrest; and the officer spoke hopelessly of him, asking what more could be done to save him from his own undoing. A fellow-officer suggested, “Try forgiving him.” The man was brought in and asked what he had to say for himself. He replied, “Nothing, except that I’m very sorry.” “Well,” said the officer, “we have decided to forgive you.” The man stood dazed for a moment; and then he burst into tears, saluted, and went out to become the best and bravest soldier in the unit. Gentleness had saved him.
That is the way Christ deals with the penitent. He saves by forgiving. He loves unto the uttermost. His grace is inexhaustible. However often we fail, when we come back and ask to try again, He welcomes us and gives us another chance. This is our hope! If He were not thus gentle with us, we would never get to our eternal home.
Christ is also very gentle with us in our serving of Him.
Those who have all the refinements and inspirations of the best Christian culture around them have little conception of the disadvantages of others who are following Christ without any of this help, in the face of the most uncongenial surroundings. What kind of Christians would we be, and how beautifully would we live, if we were in their circumstances?
Christ is infinitely patient with all whose lot is hard.
He never exacts more of us than we can do. He is never unreasonable. He knows when the burdens are too heavy for us. Once, “being wearied with his journey,” He “sat thus by the well” in his exhaustion. He sympathizes with those who are weary, and He helps them.
I hope this article was an encouragement and inspiration to you today! I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on it. Feel free to leave your reflections and ask your questions below.
God bless you and your family, this day and always.
All for our King’s glory,
photo by Geoff Duncan | Lightstock.com
This post is another installment of Miller’s Monday Musings, a weekly series that is published every Monday on my website. The series features selected writings that have been adapted from the works of James Russell Miller (1840-1912), a much-beloved Christian author and pastor who is well-remembered for his practical thoughts on Christian home and family life. Learn more about this weekly series by clicking here.