Be Gentle

This past weekend I went through what is called a Mohs surgery. It’s a procedure where the doctor shaves off slices of skin tissue which is suspected to have cancer within the skin. The shavings of skin are then taken and analyzed until shavings are found to be clear and clean from cancer. This was done to my left cheek. (Just a bit of unsolicited advice: don’t forget to wear your sunblock.)

BTW – the doctor got it all.

Anyway, as I got the initial pain killing shot in the cancerous area, my doctor was incredibly gentle. Inside I was screaming with fear, but she had an approach which was so helpful in keeping me relaxed. Just as she applied the shot, she said (in the softest, gentlest voice… almost whispering), “Ready? Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch…….” as she applied the needle.

I’ve gotta tell you, it worked! It really worked. So, this got me thinking about gentleness, it’s soothing effect, and sharing the Gospel.

It is so easy to forget that we (Christians) are supposed to proclaim who God is and what He has done, but with “gentleness and respect” (1Pet 3:15). I think we can easily forget that when we tear down the worldviews of people, when calling for their repentance, that there is a gentle way to approach it, as opposed to a more tempting, rough way to approach it.

Paul encourages gentleness when he wrote to Timothy:

2 Timothy 2:24-26
“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”

While writing to the Corinthian church, Paul also encourages a gentle approach by encouraging the avoidance of offense:

1 Corinthians 10:31-33
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.”

And why is it important that we are to be gentle and to avoid offense when sharing the Gospel? Because, as Paul said above, we share without offense: “that they may be saved.”

Paul also reminds the brethren of “the offense of the cross” when writing to the Galatians (Gal 5:11).

The Gospel is offensive to the unregenerate, and we must always keep such in view. When writing to the Corinthians, Paul teaches that the Gospel is “a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” (1 Cor 1:23). The Gospel is completely antithetical to unregenerate or worldly logic, so we must be careful and sensitive to the hearer. Even Jude encourages the same:

Jude 1:22
“And have mercy on those who doubt.”

After my Mohs procedure was over, I thanked my doctor for the gentleness she imparted. She admitted that she absolutely hates needles. She then told me that she had been taught the importance of being gentle by an older nurse when she was in medical school, because of how scary it can be for the patient when receiving medical care. It is difficult for a doctor to hide the truth of an evasive but necessary medical procedure from a patient. But when done with gentleness, the patient’s anxiety can be greatly diminished, despite the evasiveness of what the doctor must perform.

Scripture also encourages the same gentleness when evangelizing, because evangelizing is extremely evasive regarding the unregenerate’s soul. We (Christians) must always be sensitive and gentle to the hearer, because the Gospel is an invasive offense. It is a frightening thing to be warned of the reality of an angry God.

Proverbs 12:18
“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

And that healing is Christ, and what He has done.

A gentle: Godspeed, to the brethren!