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Self Control: Cost and Reward Tenderheartedness Third in Series

by Levi Sisemore

LeviSisemore     To be called a “tinder-foot” isn’t exactly a compliment. It describes someone of little experience and exposure, so little that his feet aren’t even used to walking the trail. To look up the root “tender” in the dictionary, one finds “easily damaged, vulnerable,” “soft, not tough” – hardly the picture of masculinity presented to us as ideal by our culture. For example, the results of a quick Google Image search of the word masculine returned images of shirtless, scruffy-bearded men with tattoos and impressive physiques. Daniel Craig (James Bond), Arnold Schwarzenegger (Terminator), and Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) were on   the front page of those results. This is the world’s understanding of what it is to be a man.

However, for all of the bluster of machismo, all of the testosterone and aggression in the world won’t make us a bit more like Jesus. But a tender heart will make us better Christians, husbands, fathers, and leaders – because it makes us more like Christ.

     Gentlemen, we are called to be tender-hearted and to take risks with our heart. “Love” is not a feminine virtue, it is the defining characteristic of God Himself. Keeping our hearts supple in God’s service is imperative, lest we become dried up and cracked.

Peter was a rough-and-tumble commercial fisherman who carried a sword on his belt (and he wasn’t afraid to use it!). He matured into a real, godly man who wrote these words: “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind” (I Pt. 3:8).

Saul of Tarsus, a man who was not above physical violence and assault to further his own views, saw that true strength is in vulnerability and forgiveness, as he wrote: “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32).

Don’t allow any foolish Hollywood image or ideal to blind us in our pride! Let us look to the examples of     Peter, Paul, and even Jesus as they remained tenderhearted in their service to God.

 

From All Creatures of Our God and King (c. 1226)

“And all ye men of tender heart

Forgiving others, take your part

Alleluia, Alleluia!

Ye who long pain and sorrow bear

Praise God and on Him cast your care.”

 

         Levi Sisemore is minister of the 37th Street Church, Snyder, Texas

 

 




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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10