Does Gentle = Spiritual?
About a year ago, I was accused of not being spiritual and lacked authority when I wasn’t gentle with someone. First, I want to preface this by saying I am a HUGE HUGE HUGE proponent of the Fruit of the Spirit. I teach on this regularly in my mentorship group: When we walk in the Fruit of the Spirit, we are hidden in Christ. When we step outside of the fruit, we open ourselves up for every evil work.
Now, with that said, is there ever times we step outside of the Fruit of the Spirit? I don’t think so. I think that when we deal with a brother we must always walk in the Fruit of the Spirit. I also think when we deal with unbelievers we walk in the Fruit of the Spirit.
When did Jesus step out of the Fruit? did He? I don’t think so. What Jesus did was he defined things differently than our human perceptions.
When my daughter died, I got a card in the mail with the scripture:
“13 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully (perfectly) made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.”
I remember becoming sooo angry and screaming out, “but MY daughter wasn’t fearfully, wonderfully, perfectly made!!!”
I heard the Lord say to my spirit,
“Amy, your definition of perfect isn’t my definition of perfect. Your definition of wonderful isn’t my definition of wonderful. Your definition of fearful isn’t my definition of fearful”
I knew at that moment I needed to realign my understanding with heavenly definitions and not enter into bitterness and anger. It was a HUGE revelation to me. But it set me on a path to redefine what the world has defined for us. Holiness. Righteousness. Our definitions are not His definitions. In my brokenness, in my filthy rags, HE calls me RIGHTEOUS.
WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?
Could it be that Jesus was gentle in all aspects?
gentle (adj.) Look up gentle at Dictionary.com
early 13c., gentile, gentle “well-born, of noble rank or family,” from Old French gentil/jentil “high-born, worthy, noble, of good family; courageous, valiant; fine, good, fair”
All Christians agree that everything Jesus did was perfectly loving – but was he really so exclusively gentle, meek and mild?
Actually, the picture of Jesus who was always gentle and inoffensive is not the real thing. But that image is such a powerful influence from our background that we don’t even notice how tough the real Jesus was on his disciples. The real Jesus realized his disciples had a battle to fight against evil and unbelief. So, like a good military commander, he sought to toughen them up. In particular, he set out to strengthen their faith.
- He publicly called the clergy (Pharisees) a “brood of vipers” who were “evil” and therefore couldn’t say anything good (Matt. 12:34).
- He publicly called them “hypocrites” (Matt, 22:18) “sons of Hell”, “blind guides”, “blind fools”, “whitewashed tombs” (Matt. 23: 13-17, 19? 23-32).
- He said, “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” (Matt. 23:33).
- He was angry at their hardness of heart (Mark 3:1-6).
- On another occasion, he said to them, “You are of your father the Devil and do as your father desires … He who is of God hears the words of God the reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God …. If I said, I do not know (God),. I should be a liar like you” (John 8:44, 47, 55).
- Then there was the famous occasion when in love, gentleness and meekness (insert sarcasm) he drove the moneychangers out of the temple courts, scattering their coins (John 2:l4-l6).
- When the disciples thought they were about to lose their lives in the terrible storm on the lake Jesus didn’t ooze human sympathy. Rather He said, “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” (Mark 4:40).
- When the disciples couldn’t deliver a demon-possessed boy Jesus said, “O faithless and perverse generation. How long am I to be with you and bear with you?” (Luke 9:41).
- The two disciples on the road to Emmaus were grieving at the death of Jesus. He appeared and said to them: “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken” (Luke 24:25)
- He also appeared to the disciples and rebuked them “for their unbelief and hardness of heart” in not believing He has risen (Mark l6;l4).
If someone was not prepared to receive the message and ministry of the Gospel, Jesus did not advise wasting hours and hours on them out of misguided human compassion, unsanctified grace. Rather He said, “If anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town” (Matt.10:13-15).
Of course, it is possible to take firm action against someone in the wrong way and for selfish motives. Nevertheless, Jesus clearly shows us it is loving to rebuke hypocrites (including religious leaders) with honest but strong language:
- to challenge would-be disciples so deeply that some are put off
- to rebuke lack of faith even in people who are doing quite well in the circumstances
- to tell a person his faults, and to take them seriously
- do not to waste time trying to help those not ready and willing to go forward with the message Jesus gave you
What do we do with 2 Tim 2:25?
Correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.
Cognate: 4240 praýtēs (compare 4236 /praótēs, another feminine noun which is also derived from the root pra-, emphasizing the divine origin of the meekness) – meekness (“gentle strength”) which expresses power with reserve and gentleness. See 4236 (praotes). Meekness (4240 /praýtēs, “gentle-force”)
So we have: correct his opponents with gentle FORCE and gentle STRENGTH with AUTHORITY (noble clan) VALIANTLY. God may perhaps grant them repentance . . .
All this must, of course, be done with prayer and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit
Jesus did NOT play with demons . . .
Why was Jesus so tough at times with his disciples? Because, as I said, he was training them to be spiritual soldiers. He didn’t just see them sympathetically as individuals with needs; he saw the needs of a world without God and without hope. And he knew that if he didn’t toughen the disciples up they would fail in their mission to the world.
So does gentleness = spiritual? and don’t get me started on authority . . .
IS THIS A HEART TEST?
When you feel hurt, offended, frustrated or think ANYTHING outside of what God says about them. You must look into your own heart and ask why that is so offensive or even why you should care. Be so very careful to not pick up other people’s offenses as a third party offense. You will align yourself a judgment and curse. If it isn’t your personal experience it is judgment. Even if they are wrong. It’s their journey, if action is made it should be to bring that person back to the light and restoration.
If you feel like you need to “pull away” from someone, ask yourself why and be an emotional investigator, what are you self preserving from? What darkness is greater than your light?
Be unoffendable. Be a restorer. If you notice it, then you are called to be the solution. Especially, when no one else sees it. Two choices: something in you needs to be exposed and uncovered with the Lord or you are to be the restorer of the brother. But never to walk away from a brother. Unless it is evidenced abuse. Even then you are required to process Matt 18
Rise above defensiveness. When we are defensive we have let the EGO take charge.
The Ego wants to win, to be right, to control all decisions and people. When the ego encounters other egos, arguments result and we find ourselves getting defensive.
Disagreeing, pouting, resentfully giving in, compromising and unwillingly negotiating become a way of life for most people. That wouldn’t be a problem if it didn’t thwart the growth that is the gift of our journey here.
Our time here is full of purpose, and we aren’t fulfilling it if we are caught in battles of the EGO. Rising above the struggle is as simple as quietly asking for a “second opinion” so to speak, of the situation that’s got us agitated. There always is another way of looking at a situation. If we go to the right source, we will discover it.
The only right source is the Holy Spirit. Get the Holy Spirit’s opinion on your situation. It may take some time to quiet your ego’s mind, but if you sit and meditate on truth long enough . . .you will come away with a second opinion . .generally your initial thoughts are not HIS thoughts. Today I will be free of strife. The Holy Spirit will transform my view of every situation at hand.
Amy is the Author of Dreams: A Window Into Your Destiny, How To Talk To The UnChurched, and Dream Symbols