Illustration results for gentleness
When the Federal troops occupied Cheraw, South Carolina, the Confederates left so much gun powder behind that the Union troops decided to dump most of it in a little creek. Some of the Union troops were looking for some entertainment so they scooped up handfuls of the powder and carried it to their cooking fires a few hundred yards away, where they exploded it amid much shouting and laughter. With each handful they grew more careless, and left numerous crisscrossing trails of powder running back to the ravine. Sergeant Theodore Upson of the 100th Indiana had just started his coffee boiling when he saw “a little flash of powder running along the ground.” A moment later he noticed that the powder flashes had multiplied and were running in all directions. Someone yelled, “Look out for the magazine!” Upson and his comrades “made some pretty quick moves” in putting as much space between themselves and the creek bed as the burning powder trails would allow. “Then there was a tremendous explosion,” Upson recorded. “The dirt and stones flew in every direction.” The ground shook for miles. The force of the blast destroyed several houses and shattered nearly every window in town. A storm of shell and shrapnel rained down for a half-mile in every direction. One officer and three enlisted men were killed as a result of the blast, and more than a dozen were wounded. Rumor had it that Sherman at first believed the explosion was an act of sabotage, and was on the verge of issuing orders to burn the rest of the town and execute the mayor in retaliation. He relented, however, when he learned that it was the carelessness of his own men that had caused the devastation.
Don’t play with the fire of temptation. It may seem fun for a while but eventually it will burn you and others. (Prov 6:27-28 NIV) Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? (1 Tim 6:11 NIV) But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
From Mark L. Bradley,The Battle of Bentonville: Last Stand in the Carolinas, pg. 67-69:
I was fortunate to grow up in a home where my father was both a loving and disciplining presence. I guess I would have to say that if there is anything I really remember about my dad is this, he possessed a presence unlike any other person in my life. To me he was always larger than life. He towered over me and just had a way of peering down at me that, depending upon the situation, could either rivet me to the spot in guilt or immediately cause me to reach out in search of his love. My dad had a smell about him that was uniquely him. There was always the faint odor of aftershave no matter what the time of day. This, mixed with the ever-present tinge of Chesterfield aroma, was always a sure sign that he had passed this way. Dad also had a unique way of clicking his teeth and clearing his throat. I knew that he was around and that my world was protected and safe when I heard those distinctively “dad” noises I had become so accustomed to. This was what made up the physical aura of my father.
There were other things about my dad that fleshed out his presence. The way he mixed his peas with his potatoes. The way he always used pepper on his food as well as the inevitable sneeze that followed. My dad wore argyle socks and very seldom wore shorts. He liked to walk barefoot in the grass while he sprinkled his precious lawn in the summer. Over the course of the years, image after image was plied upon his presence as I came to know the man in whose footsteps I knew I would some day walk. To some people his habits might have been annoying, even irritating. To me they were simply images of a man I was trying to know and conform to. Just like most boys, I wanted to be like my father when I grew up. I wanted to smell like him and sing like him. I wanted to drive a car like him and go to work like him. I swing a hammer a certain way today because that’s the way he swung it. I shave in the manner he shaved, first a swipe on the right, then the left, then under the chin and done. In this sense, dad over the course of sixteen or so years was shaping the purpose of a young man who had all of life in front of him.
As I grew older and more perceptive, I became more able in my study of the man. I began to observe his life as well as his presence. I saw his times of joy as well as his times of pain. When he lost his job I was only a little boy but I remember his deep sorrow followed by a stern commitment to make everything better. I saw his anger as well as his gentleness. The way he hugged my mom and kissed her even when we kids were around is an image I have carried with me to this day. When I left home at eighteen I was confident that I was on the way to becoming my “own man.” I didn’t find out until later that I was simply flexing my wings in pre-course to a flight that would bear a great similarity to the way my father had soared above me for years.
In the many years since I launched into my own flight as a man and a father, I can now reflect back and see the greatest lesson my dad taught me; that a man’s presence is a mixture of joy and pain. This is what makes him a man. This is what gives him purpose and value. Happiness is not all joy. Rather, it is having a purpose in life that is founded on the growth a man achieves when he builds on his misfortunes as well as his successes. The pain was as good as the joy. In fact, we can’t really know joy without the pain. To many Americans today even the suggestion that we conform to our suffering in order to know true happiness would be just plain foolishness. In a culture bent on a “no pain” attitude molded by the misguided belief that the end of all living is comfort and happiness, there is no room for such introspection. When we are confronted by trouble the first thought is to escape from it, not learn from it. Our purpose has become a purpose bent on escape from pain. The idea of embracing pain seems almost un-American. Nashville pastor Byron Yawn writes,
“Because of this distorted perception, we rarely stop to search for the ‘hand of God’ in the midst of our trouble. Seeking to understand God’s purposes in our pain is all but foreign. As a result, embracing pain’s role in our sanctification is usually the farthest thing from our minds.” (Preaching Now Vol. 1, No. 20. Tue 9/3/2002)
God has called each of us to conform to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. Like our fathers, that is an image of joy mixed with pain. There is now escaping it; this was His life and it is ours as well. His purpose was to glorify the Father in His suffering. Our greatest purpose is no different. May each of us be “counted worthy of his calling.” Embrace the pain and learn from it. Make this the cornerstone of your purpose as a believe in Christ Jesus our Lord.
An official of a Mission Board, who knew that it takes more than desire to make a missionary, was appointed to examine a candidate. He told the young man to come to his house at 6 in the morning. The young man went at 6 in the morning to be examined, and the examiner kept him sitting in the room until ten. Then he went down to him and said abruptly, “Can you spell? Can you spell God?” “Yes, sir,” came the answer calmly. “Can you write your name? Do you know what your name is?” “Yes, sir,” again he replied. He put him through a series of questions of that kind, and then went to the Missionary Board and said, “He will do. I tried his patience for four hours, and he did not break down: I then insulted him, and he did not lose his temper. He will do.” That is the way to prove Christianity. If a man answers all abuses with patience, a fortitude, a gentleness that cannot be violated, depend upon it, Christ’s love has conquered his heart, and the Christianity that has made him what he is vindicated by the very quality of his character. Such a Christian causes men to say, “Well, after all, you’ve got to say something for a religion that produces a man like that.”
Jesus did not ride into Jerusalem on a white stallion, leading His forces against the Roman Empire. And He doesn’t work that way today, either. He comes in a spirit of gentleness.
And then He was arrested and dragged before the Sanhedrin and later before Pilate. He was falsely accused, mocked, beaten and humiliated. Yet through it all, He did nothing to protect Himself. Does this mean that He was cowardly or weak? Not at all! This was the same man who went into the Temple and who drove out all those who were dishonoring the house of God. This was the One who could halt a storm in its tracks with a single word.
This is gentleness. Never mistake gentleness with weakness. G...
GET DOWN IN THE DITCHES
A few years ago when I had my motorcycle accident and ended up in a ditch full of dirt, I was lost in the same way the Bible uses the world "lost." I could not get out of that ditch, even though every fiber of my being wanted to. My HEART wanted to. My spirit wanted to. Everything within me wanted to get out of that ditch, because I knew I was laying in the dirt. But I couldn't get out.
And that's how it is with the world. And that's how it is with some of the people in OUR town. And I might not be very popular for saying this, and I say with as much love as I possible can, but YOU might be the one you has to get dirty to reach those people.
When we're laying in the dirt, SOMEBODY's got to get us out. The firemen that got me out of the ditch that day, they got themselves really dirty by doing it. And when they arrived on the scene that day, they RAN to the ditch and started doing what they had to do to get me outta there!! And they didn't worry about their clothes, or how good they looked. I don't know, maybe they had on a good pair of jeans that day, or maybe one of them had on a new pair of shoes. But they didn't look at me down in the ditch and yell down to me and say, "We're clean up here, so we'll just wait 'til you get cleaned up, and then we'll come and carry you out." No, of course they didn't; they had good legs under them. And they RAN, and they got themselves dirty, and they got down in the ditch with me, and they CARRIED me out. And they did it with as much gentleness and concern for my hurts, and the situation I found myself in life, as I can ever remember.
And we, who have our spiritual legs under us, need to get down in the ditches and stop worrying so much about looking good and get some lost people found.
BIBLE VERSE: Galatians 5:22-23a
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
The Word "Fruit": Look at that word here, is it singular or plural? Yup, it’s singular. What does that mean? Simple, it means that when someone becomes a believer, they should begin to develop these items. These aspects of their life will begin to come through, maybe not right away, but this is what God will create in them (notice, gaining peace but not patience is technically unacceptable, since both are a part of the same fruit…all should be gained).
Fruit Example: Look fruit is good, everyone loves fruit (if someone disagrees, have some clever comeback here). Whether it is an apple, an orange, or a guanabana (it looks like a green prickly coconut with tons of seeds, but if you get past that, it has a white creamy pulp that is said to taste like a pineapple-apple mix), fruits are awesome. We want fruit, people want fruit, we need to do good deeds, and produce fruit.
DEFUSING A BOMB
The setting is modern day Iraq. A soldier specially trained is cautiously approaching a large cigar-shaped bomb capable of destroying the lives of anyone within half a block. He has good intentions of defusing it and making peace instead of destruction. But the bomb is a real threat -- it is dangerous and any wrong move, any wrong wire that is cut is instant death.
When you see a bomb, the temptation is anger - to kick, to scream, to take a hammer and pound that bomb. But will that have any effect? Yes! It will explode and you with it! Many others will be killed as well. You don't fight a bomb with another bomb.
Every difference of opinion is like a bomb which has the potential to destroy everything around it. And so every conflict has even more potential for damage.
How do you defuse a bomb? How do you defuse the bomb of conflict? Of offense? Of differences of view or opinion? There is a special key to keeping the peace -- to defusing the bomb. How do you defuse a bomb of conflict? With humility! You defuse it with gentleness, with love, with humility. Humility is the key to disarming any attack. As Paul wrote: "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him..."
I saw it again this last summer - the small cathedral in Bethlehem that marks the birthplace of the Savior. Behind a high altar in the church is a cave, a little cavern lit by silver lamps. There are two entries for pilgrims. One is through the main church, allowing you to admire the grandeur of the ancient building. The other is from Manger Square through a small entry. There is one stipulation. You have to stoop. That’s right, the door is so low you can’t go in standing.
What is true of the entry to the birthplace of Christ is true of those who walk in gentleness - it can’t be done standing, one must stoop and bow. You have to be on your knees if you want to manifest the third beatitude...
Sermon Central Staff
OVERCOMING EVIL WITH GOOD
Stuart Holden (1874-1934), the author of "Prevailing Intercessory Prayer", was in Egypt and met a sergeant in a Highland regiment. "How were you brought to Christ?" he asked this bright Christian.
The sergeant responded: "There was a private in the same company as myself who had been converted in Malta , and I gave him a terrible time. I remember one night in particular when it was very rainy and he came in wet and weary from sentry duty. Yet, as usual, he still got down on his knees before going to bed. My boots were covered in mud and I threw them both at him and hit him twice on the head. He kept kneeling and praying.
The next morning when I woke up I found my boots beautifully cleaned and polished at my bedside. This was his reply to me and it broke my heart. That day I was brought to repentance."
(From a sermon by Ken Pell, A Fruit-Full Marriage: Gentleness (Gentle Love), 9/4/2011)
Sermon Central Staff
RUNNING WITH A STOPWATCH
Long-distance runner Paavo Nurmi of Finland was an Olympic champion, winning twelve medals (nine of them gold) in the 1920, 1924, and 1928 Games. Nurmi was famous not only for his achievements, but also for running with a stopwatch in his hand to check his performance. It’s good to know how you’re doing along the way if you want to win a long-distance race.
How’s your performance, your spiritual performance, that is? And what’s your spiritual stopwatch? It’s your Bible. We must check it often to see how well we are doing. And you won’t perform well if you don’t train well.
What is spiritual training? Bible study, prayer, worship, church, etc. And what are we pursuing in these? Righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. The Bible can change you if you’ll let it, because it’s the living, breathing Word of God! The Bible will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from the Bible.
(From a sermon by Steve Shepherd, The Pursuit of Holiness, 9/16/2011)