Gentleness—A Surprising and Timely Appeal

David Staff   -  

Even as we cautiously emerge from the COVID 19 pandemic, our hearts are still reeling from the social, racial, and political uproar of 2020.  On our doorstep, the trial of (former) officer Derek Chauvin, who pinned George Floyd’s neck to the pavement for almost 9 minutes with his knee.  My heart winces just thinking what may be ahead.

Christians—perhaps especially evangelical Christians—have struggled to know what to do with the last 365 days.  So many have been angry, frustrated, aligned on “this side” or “that side,” quick to speak and to post and to contend…and, not so ready to listen.  Haven’t you wondered if we who follow Jesus are handling all these things in a truly Christlike manner, fully under the control of the Spirit?


His name is Scott Sauls.  On Monday and Tuesday of this past week (March 8-9), he was a key presenter at our EFCA Central District Conference (Valley Church, WDSM). 

He offered a refreshing, surprising call.  The call to gentleness. 

Scott shepherds the Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN, having formerly been on Pastor Tim Keller’s staff at Redeemer Presbyterian Church (NYC).  His compelling book A Gentle Answer: Our Secret Weapon in an Age of Us Against Them (Nelson Books, 2020) was offered freely to conferees.  His restoring presentations at the conference served as a healing salve on raw hearts.

His point is marked by surprising simplicity, the very heartbeat of Jesus our Master.  Scott invites us to become like Jesus. 

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  (Jesus, Matthew 11:29)

A gentle answer turns away wrath…A gentle tongue is a tree of life.  (Proverbs 15:1,4)

The fruit of the Spirit is…gentleness, self-control, against which there is no law. (Galatians 5:23)


Besides your time in the Scriptures, what will you read to feed your heart this Spring.  I don’t know what frame you may put around the upcoming trial.  I have little idea where you stand politically.  To be sure, I’m unaware what you’ve come to believe about the need for improving social and racial justice for all in our land.   

Nonetheless, I have an urgent recommendation for you, for the entire Christ Community Church family.  Order a copy of A Gentle Answer and allow this anointed shepherd to place your hand in the Master’s. To re-align your heart with His.  Read it with your spouse, with your family, with your Connect Group.  It may be the best investment in your growth in Jesus you could take. 

As Pastor Sauls notes, “The psalmist prayed to the Lord, You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great (Psalm 18:35).”  He adds, “the gentle answer has nothing to do with being weak.  In fact, it requires the deepest, most courageous, and most heroic kind of faith—the kind that is possible through the gentle and gentling power of Christ himself.”

Happy, humble reading.  May the Savior’s character be formed in us, so that others see Him clearly, and draw near.