This Evening’s Thought
“I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love.” Hosea 11:4
THE word of God teaches us, that “a soft answer turns away wrath.” And, again, it is said, “By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaks the bone.” It was by kindness that David calmed down the enraged temper of Saul, obtaining thus a two-fold victory—a victory over himself; and a victory over the wrathful king. Kindness is the great law of the Divine government; and in man is the strongest element of human power.
How does God overcome an evil; is it not by good? And based upon this is a like precept enforced upon us: “If your enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing you shall heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
There is no weapon so powerful as kindness. It is by the love of the cross the enmity of the carnal mind is subdued, and its inbred evils overcome; and would we be exquisitely severe to the faults and delinquencies of the erring and the hardened, we must be exquisitely kind. The very severity of love will more quickly and effectually subdue, win, and reclaim, than all the harsh, cruel treatment, unfeeling upbraiding, and bitter threats, that sternness ever invented. The human heart expands to the looks, and words, and actions of human kindness and sympathy; just as the wild rose and the delicate flower nurtured in our gardens open to the light and warmth of the morning sun.
We should remember this in our walks and labors of benevolence. Brought, as we sometimes are, into contact with extreme cases of guilt and crime, we should not overlook the material we yet possess, with which to repair the fallen structure. No heart should be considered too polluted—no mind too dark—no character too debased—for the power of God, working by human instrumentality, to restore. The surface may present to the eye the iron features of a hardened and a reckless character; nevertheless, there are springs of thought and feeling and memory, beneath that repulsive surface, which, if touched by a skillful and a delicate hand, will unlock the door of the heart, and admit you within its most sacred recesses. Thus with gentleness and kindness you may soften the most hardened, disarm the most ferocious, calm the most violent, and attain complete possession of a mind that has long resisted and repelled every other subduing influence.
The true disciple of Christ, like the beloved John, who leaned on the bosom of Jesus, and felt and imbibed the warmth of its gentleness, tenderness, and love, will ever desire to exhibit the loving, sympathizing, forgiving spirit of his Lord and Master, from whose lips no words of harshness ever breathed.