Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
In his brilliant, anointed, yet somewhat fictional one man play, Witnesses, actor, Curt Cloninger portrays a tailor in one of the seven short acts reminiscing about the life of Jesus.
In this scene, Cloninger reminisces about what it was like to grow up with Jesus as a boy. Although this point in Jesus' life is not recorded in Scripture, we can have a good idea of what He might have been like just by the way Jesus lived His adult life.
The scene - as I remember - opens with Cloninger folding clothes. He is talking to an unseen reporter who is talking to seven witnesses about who Jesus was, is, and is about to become:
Jesus? You want to know about Jesus? I would be very glad to tell you! About seventeen years ago, I was a boy - the only child of my mother who had just been widowed. Because she depended on me to later take care of her, she was very protective of me - I was her only son, and I was never to get hurt. This made me, and my reputation in our village, a 'mama's boy'. The boys in the village called me a 'sissy'.
One day, on my way home from synagogue school, I'm walking by myself when I hear footsteps closing in behind me. I turn around, and see the neighborhood bully and his gang closing in. I see in his eyes that I am to be his next victim! I start to run, but they're bigger and faster than me. In a matter of a few seconds, I am surrounded!
One of the gang grabs my books and knocks them to the ground saying, "Looks like we have a bookworm here. Let's see if he likes to eat dirt!"
The bully grabs me, and throws me to the ground. He sits on my chest, and starts to shove dirt into my mouth, screaming at me, saying, "What's the matter you little sissy, dirt got your tongue?"
I start to cry, which incites this pack of boys to act like wild animals. He is sitting on top of me, shoving dirt into my mouth, and I can't breathe!
At this moment, I hear some commotion starting from the back of the pack. A parting of the bully's gang. I feel the bully being lifted off of me. I slowly open my eyes hoping to see a very large adult taking charge of this riot. But, what I see is a boy - much smaller than the bully - about my age.
The boy speaks, "If you want to pick on somebody, why don't you pick on me?"
The bully sees the boy's size. His eyes turn red with anger. The bully clenches his fist and swings at the boy, totally connecting with the boy's nose. More blood than I've ever seen gushes from this boy's nose, covering him and getting some on my clothes. From where I am, I can see this boy's fists clenched, but - at his side. He then raises his arms, forming a "T" or cross shape. Arms open wide, inviting the bully - for a hug. The bully stands there expecting the boy to retaliate. But, this much smaller boy just stands there with this peaceful expression on his blood matted face.
Well, the bully doesn't know what to do. He mutters something to his gang, and walks off shaking his head, leaving me and this boy alone.
This boy drops his hands, and holds one out to me. He gives me a hand up, and brushes the dirt off of me. He looks me in the eye, and says with a small grin, "We were almost done for, weren't we? My name is Jesus."
"Thank you, Jesus, for saving me." I say.
He says, "Aw . . . that's what I'm here for. Come with Me to My Father's house and we'll have a meal together! I hope you like loaves and fishes!"
The words for "gentle" in the Greek are "praupathin", "praus", and "prautes". They mean meekness, gentleness, and humility. They come from the Greek word, "pascho", which means to be acted upon, to endure. It gets its foundation from the Hebrew word, "pasach", which means to become lame, not strike back!
In boxers terms, it means, "to pull your punches." Putting it all together, it means to hold back from striking back, in humility, gentleness, meekness - even though you have the power to retaliate and destroy the one who started it!
In the Beatitudes that Jesus is giving us here in Matthew 5, these are attitudes He wants us to have because He first had them. These attitudes are not aspirations of our Lord, but are accomplishments.
And, if we follow Him, He will give these attitudes to us! One word from Him could have destroyed the entire universe. Yet, not opening his mouth, in full submission, He saved it!
The next time that the world gives you a bloody nose, hold out your hands - the world needs a hug. And, you'll win the world, NOT be destroyed by it!
How do you read? What do you think?
P.S. To make my point in this post, I have borrowed liberally from the works of Curt Cloninger - probably the premier Christian storyteller in ministry today. His works, DVD's, blog, and performance schedules are available at his website HERE. I love the motto that sums up his work and ministry:
"Good stories. Well told. Lasting Impression."
Sharing a Bloody Nose this week with:
Faith Filled Fridays at Beholding Glory
Graceful's Hear It On Sunday - Use It On Monday