We come before you this morning, knowing that you are the very embodiment of gentleness. Its chief demonstration is found in your not treating us with the severity that our sins deserve. Instead of heaping upon us the harsh terrors of your wrath, you have been gentle with us.
It is in lieu of this we come before you and confess that we have not lived up to our calling to mimic you in gentleness.
Father, we confess that we more are akin to rabid animals and wild savages than we are to Christ. By nature we are quick tempered and blood hungry. As such we are prone to be cruel and austere, rather than hospitable and civil in our temperament.
Father, we acknowledge that we have not been gentle with our children. As fathers and mothers we have been given that special duty to be honorable, and invite their honor. But we have failed to do so because we have been abrasive with them, critical of them, and unkind to them.
You have given us children and charged us to nurture them with the same fatherly affection that you bestowed upon us; being tender in our discipline and warm our embrace. But we have fallen short: When they have provoked us we have not remained calm. When they have sought us out, we have not been sympathetic to their needs. When they have been troubled, we have not been sensitive to their state.
Father, we confess that we have not been gentle as parents. Neither have we demonstrated this virtue in our marriages.
We took vows to “have and to hold.” But oftentimes it would seem that we had promised to “yell and to chide.” Forgive us, Father, for not gracing the one you have put at our side with the amiable spirit that we should.
Forgive us as men for not treating our brides with the tenderness that is due to her as the weaker vessel, and pardon our failure to live with her with understanding, as you have commanded.
Forgive our ladies for the times when they have broken out against their husbands and their authority. Forgive them for not having demonstrated a meek and quiet spirit, and embodied those two gems of gentleness that characterize a submissive spirit.
And Father, forgive us for all those other ways we fail to bear the fruit of gentleness: for being overly sarcastic; for correcting one another, but not with love; for lacking proper manners; for our failure to be polite; for all expressions of hatred; for all undue anger; and for our fits of envy.
These sins we bring to you, O God, solely because we know that “a bruised reed you will not break, and a gently burning wick you will not snuff out.” Amen.
Assurance of Pardon: Mat 11:28-29
Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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.”
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.