1 PETER 3:8 – Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.
THEME OF THE DAY. THE TENDER-HEARTED CHRISTIAN. Apart from Christ’s love for us, if we were forced to pick one other of His character traits that is of the greatest comfort to us, what would we pick? I know this isn’t fair, but think about it. Would we answer, “His patience, His power, or His unchanging nature?” Maybe we would say, “His faithfulness to His Word?” There are a lot more possible answers, but I think I would choose “His tenderness” with me; how gently and kindly He treats me, even when I am a rebellious and drifting sheep of His pasture.
The reason why I chose the Lord’s tenderness is because I need a God who is not only powerful, all-knowing, and always present, I need a God I can approach knowing I am not going to get a cold shoulder of rejection or be consumed by terror of His awesome holiness. And this is a God you need, too. And this is the God we have. Settle into two accounts of the Lord Jesus showing His tender heart to hurting sinners.
First is the account of the woman caught in adultery – Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more” (John 8:2-11). If ever someone needed a tender-hearted God, it was her. Raked across the coals of insensitivity by the religious crowd, this daughter of Eve was humiliated, exposed, and the last thing she needed was condemnation. And what she did not receive was condemnation. She received tenderness. Friends, we are to do likewise to all hurting people, even those who hurt us. Remember this woman’s sin – adultery. Remember who she is standing before – the God whose law “You shalt not commit adultery” she broke (Exodus 20:14). Oh, may the tender heart of Jesus become our tender hearts when dealing with hurting people.
The second account is the disciple who was ready to quit – Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him the second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to Him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed by sheep” (John 21:3, 15-17). Peter believed he was washed up. He failed as a disciple, but he would succeed as a fisherman. No, Peter, you cannot. Jesus called you to His service and that means no looking back. And in Peter’s failure, the tenderness of Jesus is a tenderness of restoring a fallen disciple. For us? The application is clear. Do likewise. Be tender-hearted toward those brothers and sisters who have fallen into sin and want to be restored. Be tender-hearted, like Jesus, giving forth words of comfort, encouragement and restoration. After all, the tender-hearted Christian is the true Christian.
PRAYER: “Father, make my heart like Your heart in all the beauty of Your tenderness and gentleness.”
QUOTE: “A tender heart will be a ministering heart which so makes us like the gentle and tender Jesus.”