GENTLENESS TOWARDS SINNERS

Bible Reading: John 8:1-12

“And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” [2 Timothy 2:24-26]

There is nothing more powerful than seeing the gentleness of Jesus towards sinners. People respond to gentleness.

I recently met a lovely Muslim lady in a shop, just a few days after a vicious terrorist attack, which had caused quite a lot of antagonism and animosity towards Muslims. I spoke gently with her and apologised for the attitude of people who blamed all Muslims for this atrocity. Tears began to well up in her eyes, and she kept saying, “Thank you”, over and over again! Gentleness opens a person’s heart.

Jesus was always tender but firm with hurting people. Consider the amazing story of Jesus, the scribes and Pharisees and the woman caught in the act of adultery. He neither condoned the condemnation of her by the scribes and Pharisees, nor did He directly rebuke her because of her sin. She already knew that she was guilty and didn’t need anyone to tell her that! The only words that Jesus spoke to her were,  “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” and Jesus, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” Jesus was gentle, but not a soft touch. Whilst being tender with hurting people He was challenging and sometimes even scathing towards hypocrites. Jesus could have demonstrated incredible power but was approachable, kind, gentle and humble and the same qualities are the fruit of the Holy Spirit as we allow Him to have His rightful place in our lives.

We are to be approachable, kind, gentle and humble with people in just the same way that Jesus was. We should always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us the reason for our hope in Jesus, but this should also be with gentleness and respect [2:Timothy 2:24-26; 1 Peter 3:15].

Questions:

Why do you think that gentleness is such a powerful quality in reaching lost sinners for Jesus?

Many pre-believers have an opinion, often borne out of a negative experience, that Christians are hard and judgmental towards sinners. What is the reason for this? How can we begin to change this wrong image?

Why did Jesus not condemn the scribes and Pharisees on this occasion, but with holy anger overturn the tables of the money changers [John 2:14-15] on another occasion?