When confronted with our sin, we as Christians are often not quick to repent. They deserved it, we might think when someone tells us that we have sinned against them. Or we might justify our behavior in other ways, saying that our circumstances ought to excuse us of sin. We might even double down on our sin, reveling in it and compounding our offense rather than apologizing and seeking forgiveness.
In short, we are too often not gentle. We are hardened in our hearts. It takes effort to have a soft heart and to respond gently when someone confronts us, offends us, or criticizes us, and we cannot do it in our own power. The good news is that the gospel provides a solution for our sin-sick hearts.
Jesus invites His followers to experience the ultimate paradox in Matthew 11:30: an easy yoke and a light burden. It’s an invitation most of us would decline, if we didn’t know who was inviting us. But we find ourselves strangely drawn to the One who tells us about the burden and the yoke of following Him. We know it won’t be easy, but we can’t walk away either. Why?
I think the answer lies in verse 29. Jesus describes Himself as “gentle and lowly in heart.” Remember that He has just told us that He is the all-powerful, sovereign Ruler of the universe (v. 27). How can omnipotence also be gentle and lowly in heart? Because Jesus is God in the flesh. He is gentleness personified. His gentleness grips us.
Here’s an overwhelming thought: the second person of the Trinity is the One who has unlimited might combined with inexhaustible gentleness for sinners like you and me. Nowhere else will we ever meet anyone like Him.
A Gentle God for Violent Sinners
This text in Matthew reminds us that we need a gentle God, for we are violent sinners. We cut people with our words. We destroy with our actions. We have cold hearts, distorted minds, clenched fists, and feet that run swiftly to sin. What hope is there for such wrecks?
Jesus tells us that there is, in fact, hope for ruinous creatures like us. It is found only in Him. It is only found as we come to Him and meet Him as He truly is—not our or the culture’s caricature of Him, not what we want Him to be, but, in all of His paradoxical majesty and lowliness, Him.
What do we find when we come to Him? Someone we never expected. The King of the universe who is gentle with those who are violent like us. We meet God in the flesh, the God who knows where we hurt, how to fix it, and the only way to bring us where He wants us to be.
It gets better. He commits Himself at the cost of His own life to take us there. So, when you feel the weight of your own disaster, release your burden to Jesus, the One who carries you gently home.