I recently heard about a survey where wives were asked what they desired in their men.  The top two answers were interesting as they seemed to contradict themselves.  They wanted their men to be tough but they also wanted their men to be sensitive.  Tough and gentle. That is a tough combination.  The only one who completely pulled that off was Jesus.  He was, and is, both tough and tender.  Lately, I have begun to wonder if we have truly lost the idea of gentleness in our culture.  Paul speaks of love in I Cor 13 and he writes, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things”.  Earlier he wrote, “Love is patient, and kind”. Patience, kindness, bearing one another, believing, hoping and enduring are all words that describe toughness and gentleness.  I see very little of these traits in our culture today.  Our idea of toughness is when we are seen destroying those whom we strongly disagree with.  I struggled writing that last sentence because I was trying to get the grammar correct but I also wanted to convey that much of what is said today is done for an audience.  We care more about how we are perceived than we do for the people we are destroying with our words.  We can be brutal.
Let me give you the latest example of how we try to be tough and forget about any kind of gentleness.  A pretty spry 81 year old man was presented with a flight of steps going up into an airplane.  Those steps are pretty steep.  He wanted to show his spryness so he began to jog up the stairs and he stumbled.  The media was all over his stumble.  Now, unfortunately, I know why they were all over his stumble.  In their effort to portray our President as losing his cognitive abilities, they grab on to anything that might show a weakness due to his age.  So each time he stumbles up or down the stairs, it becomes national news.  They never show the other hundred times he navigates the stairs with ease.  I pray that at 81 I can jog up steep stairs the majority of the time.  I know this is a small sample but for me, it shows how brutal we have become.  I am not sure that I agree with our President on any issue.  I struggle greatly with many of his decisions.  But, is it toughness to show no gentleness when he, an 81 year old man, stumbles up a steep flight of stairs?  Does it really show my disagreement and toughness to write the man off because his knees aren’t what they used to be?  Where do we draw the line?
Let me really tick you off.  Are we really showing our toughness when we gather as politicians and truckers to protest the problems at the border and we call ourselves, “God’s Army”.  Listen, I agree that we have a border crisis and we need to enforce the rules that we have but do we really believe that is the best name for a group of demonstrators?  How do we then go and share the gospel with the families that so desperately are seeking a better life that they are willing to risk their lives to enter our country?  Again, I am not advocating for open borders, but is there any gentleness in this rhetoric of false toughness?  Is the message that God is on our side and we will fight you to prove it really the message that we believe God would send?  Does my belief that the name “God’s Army” is a brutally harsh name show weakness in your eyes?  Is that what we have become as believers?
This really is about love.  Is it possible for me to disagree with President Biden, hate what he represents with his policies, and yet still love the man enough to not rejoice when he stumbles up some stairs?  Is it possible for me to believe that we must control our borders but still have great empathy for those who believe they must disagree with the rules in order to get in to our country?  It is not weakness to show gentleness...even to those who oppose what we believe.  Bless those who persecute you.  Overcome evil with good. Love your enemies.  These are great weapons of righteousness.  Be gentle.  Be tough.

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