We Christians ought to be nice, you know?
Kind, gentle, warm, friendly.
Perhaps that’s not anything new to you, but it seems to me that occasionally we overemphasize some things and forget about others.
For example, we’ve really stressed what the Bible teaches about baptism, the church, sexuality, what women can and cannot do, and so on.
And we don’t need to ignore “doctrinal” matters. People need to hear what God said about issues like those, so we shouldn’t shy away from them because they’re controversial.
But at the same time, I’ve known of a few people who believe all the “right stuff” but who just aren’t very kind.
I think they don’t really know what it means to follow Jesus.
Here’s what Paul said:
“Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near” (NASB).
Some versions put “gentleness” (NKJV, NRSV, NIV) or “reasonableness” (ESV).
One says it means to be “considerate in all you do” (NLT). Another says Paul wants us to be “gentle and kind” (NCV).
The word carries with it a hint of selflessness, of “considerate courtesy and respect for the integrity of others.” This person doesn’t insist on his rights (R.R. Melick, p. 149).
We’ve all fallen short in this area, but all of us should make this commitment. Let’s treat everybody we see this week with kindness. That includes the incompetent salesclerk, the guy who cuts us off in traffic, and the rude co-worker.
Let’s be patient with our kids and our spouses. Isn’t it interesting how sometimes it’s easier to treat strangers well than it is our own families?
Let’s be gentle. We might have to correct someone today—perhaps a son or daughter at home or an employee at work. We might have a legitimate disagreement with someone. But even in those situations, can’t we do it with gentleness?
A harsh Christian is really a contradiction in terms. —Chuck