This past Sunday, I preached on “Gentleness in a Culture of Outrage.” There are a few books I’ve been reading that have been helpful to me on this subject. If you are wanting to grow in the particular ways that I talked about in the sermon, let me recommend these resources to you.
Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers by Dane Ortlund (Crossway, 2020).
If, like me, you struggle to believe that God could be gracious and compassionate toward you in your sin and weaknesses, this would be a great book to read. In chapter after chapter, Ortlund presses home the truths that God reveals about his heart in Scripture to convince us that God “is much more tender of you than you are, or can be, of yourself” (133). I’ve been reading it slowly, letting the truth of God’s great heart of love for me, especially in my struggles with sin, slowly work its way into my heart. In one of my many favorite lines from the book (and there are many), Ortlund exhorts: “Repent of your small thoughts of God’s heart. Repent and let him love you” (170). This book will help you do that.
A Gentle Answer: Our Secret Weapon in an Age of Us against Them by Scott Sauls (Thomas Nelson, 2020).
This book is a great follow up to Gentle and Lowly. Scott Sauls writes about how, out of our experience of Jesus’ gentleness toward us, we can become gentle people who engage the world with both Christlike gentleness and prophetic strength. He says, “Christlike gentleness and prophetic strength, do not cancel each other out; rather, they complete each other. It is Jesus’s love—his gentleness and grace towards us—that equips us and compels us to stand up and speak out against injustice and hurt in the world.” How do we do this? What does it look like? Sauls is a helpful guide, showing us how to be salt and light in a culture of outrage. This book is deeply rooted in the gospel, and very timely and relevant.
The Cure & Parents by Thrall, Lynch, and McNicol (Trueface, 2016)
Because I spoke about my own difficulties with gentleness as a parent, I thought I’d share my favorite parenting resource, one that has been convicting me and helping me with “the hammer.” The Cure & Parents builds on the truths laid out in the previous book The Cure (Trueface, 2016)—truths about God’s grace, about our shame, and about learning to trust God’s love for us and to live out of our new identity in Christ. The Cure & Parents shows how God’s grace can revolutionize our parenting. It’s a guide to how we, as parents, can earn the trust of our kids—and gentleness has a big part to play in this—as we come to experience the heart of God for ourselves. When we trust God and receive his grace toward us, we’re empowered to deal with our kids with a tenderness and a gentleness that wins their hearts, earns their trust, and allows us to influence them for good the way God intended. The book is written in the form of a story, which is both fun and helpful. Parents, get this book. Read it, re-read it, and re-re-read it. You’ll be glad you did.