On Sunday, the Special Gathering choir sang at a local church.  It is a great church, small in size but they support 43 missions’ outreaches.  Some of the members of the church told me that they wept during the choir’s performance.  They shared that they were impressed with the humble spirits of the choir members.  Perhaps one of the reasons that members of the mentally challenged community are loved is because they have mastered the basic politeness of life.  At times, they may forget to say, “Please” and “Thank you.”  Yet, they are usually gentle, patient and kind people.

In reading Paul’s epistle’s this past few weeks, I’ve been impressed by how many times Paul tells the church to be gentle and kind.  He relates to his good friend, Timothy, “A Lord’s servant must gently teach those who disagree.  Then maybe God will let them change their minds so they can accept the truth”  (2 Timothy 2:24).  Paul shared he had learned how to live and teach with gentleness.  He tells Timothy, “Try hard to live right and to have faith, love and peace, together with those who trust in the Lord from pure hearts”  (2 Timothy 2:22).

In speaking with people who have turned away from Christ, they often talk about the stern and hard teachings of the church. I know that this can be the perception of the receiver.  However,  Paul tell us to be firm in teaching the truth but gentle in our presentation.

People within the mentally challenged community have much to teach the church regarding living in grace and gentleness.  They have–without exception–endured rejection and mistrust.  In dealing with these hurts, the simplicity of their spirits often turns to gentleness as their way of escaping the harsh reality of their every day lives.   I think Paul may have used many of our members as an example of  his teaching had he known them.  It’s fortunate for the church, that God knows them and He uses them to bless the body of Christ.