24 The Lord’s servant must not quarrel, but be gentle towards all, able to teach, patient, 25 in gentleness correcting those who oppose him: perhaps God may give them repentance leading to a full knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may recover themselves out of the devil’s snare, having been taken captive by him to his will.
I find it interesting that Paul’s solution for Timothy on how to deal with people who oppose him is that he would be gentle towards them. This reminds me of Proverbs 15:1 which says… A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Often when we are confronted with opposition, it is our natural tendency to respond in kind. If someone is angry with us, we respond in anger. If they are controlling, we respond by pushing them away. But what would it look like, if we could respond in gentleness in every confrontational situation that we find ourselves in?
While we cannot control how the other person might react, it might make our life a lot less stressful. What if the next time you were treated rudely by a store clerk, you simply responded with a gentle smile or reassuring word? What would happen if the next time a disgruntled co-worker said something sarcastic to you and you responded with a sincere compliment?
I am not saying that it is easy. I know I have had my share of ‘responses in kind’ over the years. But my prayer is that I would become more and more like my Elder Brother in every way who is in turn, the exact image of our Heavenly Father. I am so thankful that God does not respond to us the way that we treat Him. He always responds in love and He doesn’t give us what we deserve.
Therefore be merciful, even as your Father is also merciful.
24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
15 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
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