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Gentleness

Read: Matthew 11:28-30

I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (v. 29)

My best friend once recounted play-wrestling with his three-year-old son. The toddler was about to pounce on his head when my friend reared up and growled. His son froze in terror. The boy then burst out laughing and continued his attack. Although he trusted his father completely, for that moment my friend’s son was aware of how powerful his father really was.

Throughout the Bible, God’s people are confronted with just how powerful God really is. God demonstrates his devastating might when his people need protection. And God exercises overwhelming judgment when his people’s sins require discipline. God is not a safe God.

It is therefore surprising that when God “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14), he described himself as “gentle and lowly.” Jesus modeled gentleness by welcoming tax collectors, embracing children, healing lepers, and forgiving sinners. Jesus had the God-given power and authority to destroy his enemies and punish evildoers. Instead, Jesus showed mercy and bore the full weight of God’s punishment himself.

When we fully appreciate Jesus’ gentleness we become gentle ourselves. Jesus had the power to punish us. Instead, he “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant” (Phil. 2:7), and bore the weight of God’s wrath on our behalf at the cross. The Holy Spirit whispers Jesus’ gentleness into the depths of our hearts and inspires us to be gentle in response. —Ben Van Arragon

As you pray, consider the ways you might become gentle like Jesus.

About the Author

Ben Van Arragon is a pastor, husband, and father of two teenage daughters. He has served the First Christian Reformed Church of Detroit since 2008. He writes and produces video teaching on the Bible and Reformed creeds and confessions. His writing for Words of Hope includes series on Jeremiah, Exodus, and Work and Rest.