My recent post “Fierce” offered a complaint with no real solution. It suggested a healthy mind-set as an anti-dote but no real way to get there.
This morning I think I turned the corner to an answer. I was checking today’s entry in a book of devotionals attributed to English evangelist Smith Wigglesworth. Listen to Smith:
Before his conversion, in his passion and zeal, Paul would do anything to bring Christians to death. His passion raged like a mighty lion. As he was going to Damascus, he heard the voice of Jesus saying, Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me? What touched him was the tenderness of God.
Friends, it is always God’s tenderness that reaches us. He comes to us in spite of our weakness and depravity. If somebody came to oppose us, we would stand our ground, but when he comes to forgive us we do not know what to do. Oh, to gain Christ! A thousand things in the nucleus of the human heart need softening a thousand times a day. There are things in us that unless God shows us “the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus,” we will never be broken and brought to ashes. But God will do it.
This is truly how Jesus won the day. Look at his treatment of the Samaritan woman at the well, or of Zacchaeus up the sycamore tree, or of the distraught father with the epileptic son. Tenderness. Not confrontation, judgment or butt kicking. And they needed this tenderness as much as oxygen. And He, Jesus, could offer it undiluted, unmixed, uncompromised.
Will this posture or message play well in a society of scornful anti-heroes? It will. Eventually.
And God must get the glory.