I am going to risk causing offence for some of my wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ, and please understand that is not my intention. I just feel very strongly that when we are told to be humble and gentle, I struggle with why some yell at people who live a life-style that could be perceived as “sinful.” I once lived near an abortion clinic and would see angry and loud protestors in front of the clinic at least once a week. I do not feel that holding up signs that have pictures of an aborted baby and yelling at hurting women when they enter and exit the building is being gentle. If anyone needs a gentle touch in their life it is the woman who felt so hopeless that she saw abortion as the only way out. My heart breaks for them, because it is a decision that will haunt them. I do not see where Christ showed us in the Bible that he was harsh to the hurting and “sinful.” After that experience, I moved to another city where I saw a perfect example of gentleness. An alternative clinic was opened across the street from the abortion clinic that reached out to the hurting women and helped them heal emotionally and gave them other options ranging from adoption to keeping the baby. These women were loved and counseled and given more counseling if they chose to go with adoption and gave them parenting classes if they chose to keep their baby. After the baby was born, the mothers that chose to keep a baby were referred to a Bible study that a local church ran which was specifically designed for them where they and their children would hear how much God loves them. That is gentleness! Please turn to Ephesians 4:1-2.
In order to live a life worthy of the calling that God has placed on us, we are to be humble, gentle, patient, and loving. I think sometimes Christians can get so focused on some people’s “sinful” lifestyles that we forget to hear their story. Every one of us has a story and some stories are racked with a lot more pain than others. If we have been a follower of Christ for a long time, we forget that without Christ doing His work in our lives we are in pain. The human response to pain without Christ is not going to be appropriate; people turn to alcohol, drugs, food, and many other addictions and vices. We are not called to judge, only God is the judge; our call is to love. The call to love and be gentle is not easy; it requires us to get involved with people and listen to their stories. There is a saying that says, “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.” Unless we show a gentle love to people, they are not going to care about God’s love for them. After all, how is yelling at someone and making them feel like an awful person showing them the love that Jesus showed to the hurting people He touched? I think of the Samaritan women at the well that Jesus met. Please turn to John 4:4-42.
Jesus was very gentle and kind to this woman; He showed her love rather than condemnation. Then result was that an entire town came to hear Jesus’ message. When you think about yourself, at one time Christ showed you an undeserved love in your sin and drew you to Him. We are ambassadors of Christ and are to live a life that represents Him (2 Corinthians 5:20). The only times Jesus spoke harshly with anyone was when He was speaking to a “religious” person that was not living the life that God wanted them to live. If you are not convinced, please read through all the gospels and see how Jesus was gentle with the “sinners” and bolder with the “religious” people who felt they could burden people with a lot of rules but not love God or others.
When you see someone living a life that you think is “sinful,” are you listening to their story and showing them gentleness?