Friday, February 24, 2012

GENTLE AND PATIENT

"And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you" (Ephesians 4:32).

If you want to be kindhearted—to take up the towel to restore a brother or sister—you do not need to know the details of how that person got dirty. Jesus did not ask His disciples, "How did you get such filthy feet?" He wanted only to get the dust off of them. His love for them was unconditional.

Likewise, those who walk in the fullness of Jesus Christ must have this attitude of love toward those with dirty feet. We are not to ask for details. Instead, we are to say, "Let me wash your feet."

Too often Christians want to delve into all the gory details of a situation. They come to a believer who has dirty feet, saying, "I want to wash your feet. But tell me, what happened? How'd you get so dirty?"

At some point in the story of failure, the curious comforter realizes, "Oh, my, this is worse than I thought. I can't get involved in this." And after a few more details, he comes to the end of his puny human mercy. He judges the person as too evil, beyond help, and he drops his towel and goes his way.

Beloved, you cannot wash feet in a judge's robes. You have to take off your self-righteous garments before you can do any cleansing. Paul says we are to be gentle and patient with all people: "And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth" (2 Timothy 2:24-25).

Paul is saying, "You must be tenderhearted with everyone, willing to wash their feet. God will have mercy on them and deliver them from their sin."