Summary: This is part of a sermon series on the fruits of the Spirit, namely the Character of a Christian: Gentleness.
(1) "A picture that will probably always be fixed in our minds from the Oklahoma City bombing is the picture of a fireman holding the body of a baby. We’ll never be able to forget it, will we? What is touching about that picture is the obvious gentleness with which that big, burly fireman is holding that tiny little baby. You can see it in his face, "I must handle this child gently. He’s so fragile. If I hold him gently, maybe he can be saved."" Thbis morning we are going to consider the fruit of "gentleness", and once again, we need to define it.
The Greek language defined gentleness as "power under control". It can be illustrated with a picture of a horse that has been tamed. Gentleness to them was a powerful animal with its power completely under control. For example, rushing water is powerful, but rushing water through turbines of a dam, generating electricity to a light a city, would be power under control. Water out of control, would be flood waters destroying everything in its path.
Our strength untamed can be used to harm people like Timothy McVeigh did in Oklahoma City. But to the tamed heart, the strength of fireman can be used to work to rescue sand save lives that are perishing. "A disease out of control can devastate the body and kill its victim. But disease under control can produce vaccines and save thousands of lives." Gentleness then would be power under control; anger under control; emotions under control.
Perhaps it is sort of like the new "Hummer" or "Hum-V" commercial that I saw last Thursday night while watching the Cal vs. Utah Football game. The commercial shows a boy working in his barn building something. It turns out he was building a wooden "Hummer" to enter into the Derby. He is lined up to the much smaller cars waiting to begin the dessent down the paved road. The race starts; the other cars pull away, but that is okay. The boy turns his "Hummer" off road and starts downhill. They cris-cross road and off-road until just before the finish, the Hummer pulls onto the track and crosses the finish line. Of course, they want you to run out and purchase the powerful all-terrain vehicle. But what I see, is "power under control". He didn’t win by running the other drivers off the road (NASCAR). He didn’t win by blocking out his opponents. But he won by taming rugged power and crossed terrain that otherwise seemed uncrossable.
Our best example of gentleness is Jesus. He was a powerful man. he was the Son of God. So powerful he could raise the dead. Untamed he could be like the disciple who cut off the servants ear. Untamed he would have rebelled against His Father and called upon 10,000 angels. Untamed he would have battled the devil in the wilderness. Untamed he would have watched the adulterous woman be stoned to death. Untamed he would have knocked Zaccheus from that tree and given back the money Himself. But not so! In Jesus power under control, He sought to do His father’s will, and not His own.
O’ you might argue that "untamed" he went into the temple and knocked over the changing tables! And you could be right! But I submit to you, that what He did was still power under control, because had His wrath been let loose, not a person would have walked from the rubble of that Temple after He saw what had been done to the Lord’s house. Even in this Jesus was exhibiting some manner of "gentleness" or there would have not been one stone left standing. Timothy McViegh didn’t care if the building fell on people, but Jesus, despite his anger, did!
(1) "I’ve read a lot of nursery ryhmes. One of the most familiar is "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the King’s horses and all the King’s men, couldn’t put Humpty together again." Charles Swindoll says that little nursery ryhme was originally written about people,; broken people; who fell off the wall and found themselves smashed. And all the King’s horses and all the King’s men could not put them back together again. But God can, and through your Christian gentleness He will."
When I used to wrestle with my two boys, then say ages 3 and 5, I could have smashed them with any blow; or strangled them with any hold. And yet, the two of them would pin me down and win. How can that be? Power under control! When Jacob wrselted with God at the Jabbok River and won, it was God’s power under control. Jesus on the cross... power under control! God seeing His Son there in agony... power under control!
Gentleness... the character of a Christian... power under control.
(1) source information lost (unknown)