Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers is as comforting a book as it sounds. If you struggle with doubting God’s love for you or want to better understand his heart, read this book!
Here are ten favorite quotes:
Jesus is not trigger-happy. Not harsh, reactionary, easily exasperated. He is the most understanding person in the universe. The posture most natural to him is not a pointed finger but open arms. (19)
The cumulative testimony of the four Gospels is that when Jesus Christ sees the fallenness of the world all about him, his deepest impulse, his most natural instinct, is to move towards that sin and suffering, not away from it. (30)
[Christ] does not get flustered and frustrated when we come to him for fresh forgiveness, for renewed pardon, with distress and need and emptiness. That’s the whole point. It’s what he came to heal. He went down into the horror of death and plunged out through the other side in order to provide a limitless supply of mercy and grace to his people. (36, 37)
In our pain, Jesus is pained; in our suffering, he feels the suffering as his own even though it isn’t–not that his invincible divinity is threatened, but in the sense that his heart is feelingly drawn into our distress. His human nature engages our troubles comprehensively. His is a love that cannot be held back when he sees his people in pain. (46)
Jesus deals gently and only gently with all sinners who come to him, irrespective of their particular offense and just how heinous it is. What elicits tenderness from Jesus is not the severity of the sin but whether the sinner comes to him. Whatever our offense, he deals gently with us. (54)
If you are part of Christ’s own body, your sins evoke his deepest heart, his compassion and pity… he’s on your side. He sides with you against your sin, not against you because of your sin. He hates sin. But he loves you. (71)
He knows us to the uttermost, and he saves us to the uttermost, because his heart is drawn out to us to the uttermost. We cannot sin our way out of his tender care. (83)
If your heart be hard, his mercies are tender.
If your heart be dead, he has mercy to liven in.
If you be sick, he has mercy to heal you.
If you be sinful, he has mercies to sanctify and cleanse you. (131)
Even the most intense of human love is but the faintest echo of heaven’s cascading abundance. His heartful thoughts for you outstrip what you can conceive. He intends to restore you into the radiant resplendence for which you were created. And that is dependent not on you keeping yourself clean but on you taking your mess to him. He doesn’t limit himself to working with the unspoiled parts of us that remain after a lifetime of sinning. His power runs so deep that he is able to redeem the very worst parts of our past into the most radiant parts of our future. But we need to take those dark miseries to him. (160, 161)
That God is rich in mercy means that your regions of deepest shame and regret are not hotels through which divine mercy passes but homes in which divine mercy abides. It means the things about you that make you cringe most, make him hug hardest. It means his mercy is not calculating and cautious, like ours. It is unrestrained, flood-like, sweeping, magnanimous… It means on that day when we stand before him, quietly, unhurriedly, we will weep with relief, shocked at how impoverished a view of his mercy-rich heart we had. (179, 180)