What if you entered your hostel to find your fellow student alone in the room standing over your bed and making strange gestures? Or what if you came home to found your spouse sitting on your bed with a total stranger?
When the Israelites got to the Promised Land, Moses divided it among the tribes. It turned out that the Reubenites, Gadites and half of the tribe of Manasseh found themselves on the other side of River Jordan. Before they moved, Joshua blessed and charged them to keep the commandments of God (Josh22:1-5).
Sometime later, word quietly came to the other tribes of Israel – the people on the other side of River Jordan have erected an altar! Immediate conclusion: they are worshipping idols! These people are wicked, ungrateful, idol worshippers, disobedient, hateful, etc. Imagine the tabloids, radio and TV discussions and interviews, WhatsApp, Viber, FB, twitter, etc. agog with views of spin doctors. So the other tribes gathered together – for war. Let’s remove them. Let’s prevent them from soiling our hard-earned reputation (after 40+ years of struggle).
Otherwise, God may punish them and punish us. While they were preparing to go to war, someone said, “Hey, why don’t we find out why they did that in the first place before we even go to war?” So they sent a high powered delegation made up of the high and mighty. Anybody who was somebody attended the meeting. The Israelite position was univocal:
- This altar you made is for nothing but idol worship
- Our history is rife with such episodes and their terrible results
- Pack your stuff because you are moving back with us
The Reubenites, Gadites and half the tribe of Manasseh, were calm. “We know the Lord and God knows our hearts. Brothers, we don’t even sacrifice on this altar. However, were anxious that our children and their children should also know our heritage (Deut 6.7; 11.19) and worship the Lord. Therefore, this altar is just a memorial”. The high powered delegation heaved a sigh. They were satisfied. Apologies were exchanged, hugs were exchanged, hands were clasped and shaken, and prayers were said. Then they went back with the good news.
I came away from this happy ending in Joshua 22 with a few lessons. Here they are:
- Don’t be so gentle with wrongdoing (Prov27:5 Open rebuke is better than secret love.; Titus1:13This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith)
- Be careful when you see something you think obviously looks wrong/bad (1Sam1:15 And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord)
- Be courteous when you are responding even to painful accusations (Prov15.1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.)
- Don’t be so harsh when you attempt to correct a wrong (2Tim4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.)
So should you be harsh or gentle? Be careful. Your friend may be trying to kill a scorpion on your bed and your spouse may be chatting with her long lost brother in your two-room house.
Stay focused, blest and ‘shalomious’ my friend, From your friend, Pastor Amoah
8 thoughts on “Be Harsh, Be Gentle”
King James Version
22 Then Joshua called the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh,
2 And said unto them, Ye have kept all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, and have obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you:
3 Ye have not left your brethren these many days unto this day, but have kept the charge of the commandment of the Lord your God.
4 And now the Lord your God hath given rest unto your brethren, as he promised them: therefore now return ye, and get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side Jordan.
5 But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.
We should not be driven by our emotions but it should rather be under our control, most especially when we are angry. Thank you for this reminder, sir.
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Thank you too Alfred. 😀
I also learnt that be judgment, there should be sincerely dialogue.
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I also learnt that before judgment, there should be sincerely dialogue.
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To let the accused person try to defend themselves. Yes
It’s only fair
Thank you Alfred