The Power of Godly Gentleness

Proverbs 16:32 (NIV)

One who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and one whose temper is controlled than one who captures a city.

Matthew 5:9

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

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Recent terrorist attacks – whether in Paris or Yola, Nigeria, or Bamako, Mali – raise fears, and foment angry calls for retribution. We live in tumultuous times. Know this well, however, terrorism will not win the day. These cowardly fear mongers may win certain people to their way of thinking by acts of violence and anger. But will not win the day.

Anger does not sustain or advance the cause of the rule and reign of Jesus. In fact the opposite is true: anger undercuts the work of God (cf. James 1:19-20). Peacemakers, however, not only express the rule and reign of God, they advance the kingdom’s true impact.

Solomon expressed this reality in this proverb. Jesus took that truth to a more profound conclusion. Being better than a strong man or one who captures a city is quite a compliment. Being called a son of God has to do with carrying on the family name, and in Jesus’ day was seen as the ultimate expression of identity.

Carrying the name Christian is lived out in love for neighbor and even enemy. It is expressed in faithful trust in the Father’s provision. It is seen in those who pray and do good. None of those things are responses of anger; they are expressions flowing from a heart at peace with God, deeply content with God’s goodness, and delighted in God’s salvation through the ultimate peacemaker: Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

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