Sermon: Gentle and Lowly in Heart
The way of the world is to reward people for being ruthlessly competitive. The world's value system looks down on those who display meekness, gentleness, and lowliness of heart. The apostle Paul, who was not afraid to use power, preferred the gentleness of Christ when dealing with a vocal minority of the Corinthian congregation intent on challenging his credentials. Paul displayed a gentleness not grounded in weakness, but in strength, a gentleness which was able to show anger, but only at the right time and to the right degree. Paul, who understood that strict justice when applied only by the letter can become injustice, also understood that gentleness was not a spineless retreat from reality, not an obsequious false humility, but a powerful tool to restore one who has temporarily stumbled into sin (Galatians 6:1; II Timothy 2:23). The ability to be gentle also provides a defense for one's faith (I Peter 3:15-16). In the entire Bible, no characters exhibited more meekness than Moses and Christ. Nevertheless, no biblical writer describes Moses or Jesus Christ as timid or fearful. Christ's rebuke of James and John (the sons of thunder) when they called for a holocaust to destroy their enemies (Luke 9:55-56) provide guidelines as to how God Almighty desires His offspring to approach those not yet converted. Unlike the effeminacy inspired by Satan, gentleness is like velvet covering steel, softening but not destroying the strength of masculinity. Femininity and masculinity are both characteristics of God, meant to be complementary.
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