A Gentle Answer: 20 Quotes

In these months, I don’t think any of us run the risk of being too gentle (note: gentle does not mean wimpy or spineless). Scott Sauls’ book, A Gentle Answer: Our “Secret Weapon” in an Age of Us Against Them, calls us to look at Jesus and be gentle as he is gentle. This book is a short, fairly easy read, but at the same time it is challenging—100 times more in this new world that the pandemic and politics have given birth to.

As a staff team at church, we read and discussed this book at weekly staff meetings. Church staff and ministry leaders will be helped by this book. The following are some of my favorite quotes from this book, and I encourage you to get the book for yourself and read it … and let it make you more gentle with others as your Savior is gentle with you.

  1. If our faith ignites hurt rather than healing upon the bodies, hearts, and souls of other people—even those who treat us unkindly—then something has gone terribly wrong with our faith (xx).
  2. We must die to ourselves, to our self-righteousness, to our indignation, and to our outrage (xxv).
  3. In the same way that it would make zero sense to call Beethoven a substandard composer because a six-year-old plays a Beethoven piece sloppily and out of tune at a piano recital, it makes zero sense to call Jesus a substandard Savior because his followers imitate him poorly (14).
  4. When “love your neighbor” takes a back seat to American partisanship, when the protection and advancement of our own rights and privileges take precedence over the needs of the least of these, spiritually and socially sensitive people can find it difficult to get on board with versions of Christianity that look, smell, and talk more like Uncle Sam than like Jesus Christ (31).
  5. To gain strength and courage to offer a gentle answer, we must first be flooded with the reality that we’ve already received one (68).
  6. Being persecuted is not the same as being criticized, disliked, or overlooked because of our own judgmental and offensive postures toward nonbelieving neighbors and the world (82).
  7. It is because we have been treated with such kindness, such grace, such gentleness that we ought to be the most difficult people in the world to offend (92).
  8. Anger, when released from its cage and allowed to run wild, backfires and devours the angry person’s soul (97).
  9. When one has experienced deep injustice, one yearns desperately for someone to take action and make things right and whole once again (99).
  10. When we “wrestle with pigs,” we run the risk of becoming pig-headed ourselves in the process, with everybody ending up muddy (118).
  11. C. H. Spurgeon wrote, “God is more ready to forgive than I am to offend” (120).
  12. Our character must matter more to us than our reputations (124).
  13. Unhealthy people, when criticized, tend to retreat, manipulate, or retaliate. People seeking health will tend to confess and repent (127).
  14. Forgiving others as God in Christ has forgiven us is gutsy and gut-wrenching, courageous and terrifying, redemptive and messy, breathtaking and exhausting, and heavenly and hellish in what it is going to require of us (143-144).
  15. It costs us dearly to forgive somebody. It costs us even more not to forgive (146).
  16. It helps to be reminded that in this tired world filled with sin and all of sin’s collateral pain, it is hurting people who tend to do most of the hurting of others (155).
  17. Apart from the gentle, forgiving ways of Christ toward us, we are all bound to become sons and daughters of perdition (167).
  18. We can resist the urge to become physically violent toward others, but the hatred and grudges that we carry indicate that, in our hearts, we are murderous (168).
  19. Before our hearts can be warmed by the idea of such radical reconciliation and peace, they must first be melted and softened. We must become settled in the truth that whatever Jesus asks from us, he has already done for us (183-184).
  20. It is never our repentance that causes God to be kind to us. It is only God’s kindness that causes us to repent (184).

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