“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest in your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)
Read Luke 15: 11-32 on the prodigal son
I married into a big family when I married Lauren. She has four sisters that all live locally with their families. Our newly born daughter, Hannah, was grandchild number eight for Lauren’s parents. We have six nephews ages two to seven years and one niece who is 2 years old. When they all met Hannah for the first time the most common words all of us adults would declare when holding her was, “Be Gentle!” It makes common sense to adults to be extra careful when holding a newborn baby that is so light and fragile, but for a young, energetic child it is harder to focus on being gentle.
When I think about gentleness, I visualize God holding and protecting us like a newborn is held and protected. That amount of love and care is something I can only now relate to on such a small scale compared to how Christ loves and cares. But what is also special is how he chooses to approach me with gentleness even though it is not deserved. The unassuming approach of gentleness to me is mind blowing because of the brokenness in our hearts.
When I read the passage on the prodigal son in Luke 15: 11-32, I am reminded of how God approaches the story with gentleness. The very first time I read it, I thought about the excitement and celebration that the father had when his son returned home after leaving. More recently, I have thought about the restoration between the wayward son and the father.
Today as I read it though, I saw the gentleness that was shown from the father. He received his son calmly, unashamedly and with a gentleness that shouts of something only God could do. He could have tossed him back to the pigs where he came and shouted at him to fend for himself.
The world tells us that gentleness in the face of adversity or confrontation is weak. The Greek word for gentleness is meekness, and we know that the world often views meekness as weakness. As believers though we know the truth – that gentleness is a characteristic of Christ that we have the responsibility to act out in our lives because it is extended to us daily. Jesus declares that he is gentle and humble in heart. We can practice this gentleness even in the most difficult situations because he lives in us. His reaction is gentleness first. Therefore, it can and should be ours as well.
What does the story of the prodigal son teach you about God? Do you feel like you approach conflict with gentleness first?
Jesus, thank You for modeling gentleness. We know the world sees gentleness as weak and amusing. We know through your example that gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit. It is a recognition of Your work in us. Thank You for producing this in us and help us to fulfill this characteristic in our walk today! In Jesus’ name; amen!