The title of Scott Sauls’ latest book is based on Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath.” It’s a well-written discussion on why gentleness is more likely to achieve a peaceful resolution to relational tensions. While I appreciated Saul’s insights, there were times when I felt like he made assumptions that could well be true, but I felt needed a bit more explanation. An example of this would be his discussion in chapter three of Nathanael meeting Jesus.
In Part 1, Sauls looks at Jesus’ gentleness towards sinners, Pharisees and cynics. Scott uses examples from the Gospels of how Jesus handled these different types of people. He invites us to reflect on the times when we have received the gentleness of Jesus even when we have behaved like sinners, Pharisees and cynics.
In Part 2, the book becomes more practical as Sauls explains that the outcome of receiving Jesus’ gentleness is to show it to others. The chapter titles show how he expects us to change: We grow thicker skin, we do anger well, we received criticism graciously, we forgive all the way and we bless our own betrayers. Sauls makes it clear that we don’t become doormats or passive towards those who are violent or abusive. Rather, we can still be gentle in our approach even when it becomes necessary to confront evil in our world.
In many ways, the message of the book isn’t new but given the current climate when many are quick to be offended, outraged, and join the cancel culture mentality, the message of this book is important and timely.
Overall, a thought-provoking and helpful read.