Links Daily Devotional

Gentle Dealings

…he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness… (Hebrews 5:2, NASB)

See that verse? Both as a former tennis professional who has given thousands of lessons, and as a better-than-the-average-bear golfer who has helped hundreds of people with some aspect of the greatest game, I can relate to the part about “the ignorant and misguided” with no effort. Every teacher can. I also recognize that plenty of ignorance still resides in me.

Most common in golf is the occasion when I get paired with a player who is closer to being a beginner, or who simply hasn’t played in a while. He or she might apologize for playing poorly, or for taking too many shots, or for not producing the result hoped for on a particular swing. In such instances I always say not to worry, because I too was once a beginner and even now I still hit shots that would qualify for the blooper highlight reel. And I truly understand that my golf game is still “beset with weakness,” so it is easy to “deal gently” with those folks.

But am I that gentle in all things? As if to prove my weakness, the answer is no.

The good news is that as I mature in my faith and in my life, I detect a gentler response winning the moment more often, whether that is on the driving range or driving down the road. When it happens, I am as pleased as a young boy who stands by the door jamb and finds he is a half inch taller. The one place where this is of greatest importance, and where I want most to understand and apply it, is in teaching and discussing God’s Word, and in prayer.

Here is where the context of the verse is helpful. It is part of a section comparing our high priest (Jesus) with the high priests under the Law of Moses. Those high priests, the following verse says, had to offer sacrifices not just for the people, but for themselves as well!

We are not high priests, but we are a priesthood of all believers—that is, all of us who believe have direct access to God through Jesus, our high pries. And in our priestly role when we pray that others might come to Christ, we must also pray for ourselves that we might draw closer to Christ. When we seek to help others understand God’s Word, we must also seek to understand God’s Word more deeply ourselves. We must, as Jesus said, pray that our own sins would be forgiven as we forgive others.

I’m thinking of writing today’s verse on several pieces of notepaper and putting one on my mirror, one on my dashboard, and one on my golf bag. That will remind me to deal gently with “the ignorant and misguided,” including myself, and it will also remind me that my high priest, Jesus, has offered the only sacrifice ever needed—himself.

Lewis Greer
September 1, 2014
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