He Deals Gently with Us
Yesterday morning I read something in the book of Hebrews that I would like to share with you.
For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness (Hebrews 5:1–2).
In the Old Testament, God chose a high priest to stand before Him on behalf of His people. This high priest was not perfect. Like everyone else, he made mistakes, and in one way or another, he too transgressed God’s laws. That’s why he had to offer sacrifices for his own sins as well as for those committed by the people of Israel.
God desired that this high priest would deal gently with His people! God loves and cares for His people like a shepherd for his sheep. Psalm 23 is a true picture of how God leads and looks after them with great compassion and understanding of their needs.
God doesn’t want His sheep to be beaten, judged or destroyed if they do wrong or get sick or hurt. Instead, He wants them rescued and restored to health. That’s why God wanted the high priest to care for His people with the same loving heart as His.
In fact, God expected the high priest to deal extra gently with those who sinned out of ignorance or because they were misguided by their own hearts or the influence of others. The high priest’s gentleness and compassion toward others were to come from recognizing that he, too, was plagued by weaknesses and needed forgiveness and mercy.
In the New Testament, Jesus, the Son of God, became our High Priest. When Jesus died on the cross for the sin of the whole world, He was the final, perfect and sinless sacrifice God accepted for our redemption. Since that point, our sins have been completely forgiven, and we can become sons and daughters of God through faith in Jesus. There is no further sacrifice needed, ever. And if there are no more sacrifices, then there is also no need for a human high priest to offer them. The Bible says that when Jesus went to heaven, He became our High Priest, constantly interceding for us (see Hebrews 7:25).
Jesus, our High Priest, deals gently with us! As long as we live on this earth, we will be surrounded by the results of the fall of man: sin, sickness and death. Our world is full of corruption, unspeakable suffering, poverty, diseases, abuse of innocent children, injustice, slavery, child labor, cruelty, wickedness, violence, murder, wars, dishonesty, lies, gossip and any other evil thing we can imagine. As a result, we face fear, discouragement, economic struggles, sadness, burdens and constant pressure from the world around us. In addition, each one of us has weaknesses and we face temptations. Though we are saved and we have the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome the world and temptations, we still fail at times.
When that happens, our greatest comfort is that Jesus understands us completely and has compassion and mercy on us. He deals gently with us because He lived in a human body in this corrupt world for 33 years, experiencing everything we go through.
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:15–16).
As servants of God, we are likewise expected to deal gently with others! How do we deal with others when they make small mistakes or fail miserably? So often we are disgusted, angry and ready to cut them off from our love, care and fellowship. Yes, we must hate sin, the consequences it brings and the dishonor it causes for the name of the Lord. However, we must also remember that God has no pleasure in the destruction of a child of God who has sinned, but rather in his restoration. To find compassion for the one who failed, we must look at our own weaknesses and in humility admit that we are capable of failing just like him. The only thing that keeps us safe is the grace of God. This perspective helps us to be humble and deal gently with the already bruised reed (see Isaiah 42:3).
The Bible teaches that gentleness must be part of the character of a servant of God. If we cannot deal gently with others, we are not qualified to look after God’s people. Helping others does include rebuke, correction and instruction, but it must come from a heart of compassion and love:
Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness (1 Timothy 6:11).
The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition (2 Timothy 2:24–25).
Remind them to be . . . gentle, showing every consideration for all men (Titus 3:1–2).
Dear sister, let us watch over our heart, cultivating the fruit of the Spirit of gentleness, so that our ministry will be according to the will of God.
With love and prayers,