There is one aspect of Christ that I often praise Him for. I find it unexplainable. I find it unfathomable, that my God and my Saviour would be this way toward me, as blackened by sin as I am. Yet He does, and He extends it to me so often that it humbles my prideful heart in an instant. I am speaking of His tenderness.
R. Orr describes tenderness like this. “That quality of soul which enables us to give kind attention to others, to be willing and eager to do good, to exercise great carefulness to give no offense, and to be soft and gentle in every expression. Like all other good qualities, this is found in perfection in the character of God.”
Christ is the ultimate expression of tenderness. Throughout His time on earth, Jesus exuded tenderness towards His people with mercy (shown by His healings and in many other ways), with patience, and with love. The New Testament burgeons over with a tender and compassionate God relating to His creatures in order to bring them back to Himself.
In fact, His entire journey on our little planet was an act of tenderness, as is described in the parable He told the Pharisees and scribes in Luke 15. “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (vs. 4-7)
Oh what a picture of Christ’s tenderness and compassion towards us! This Jesus, who declares Himself the Good Shepherd in John 10:11, “lays down His life for the sheep.” And without one word, Jesus allowed Himself to die in our place. (Mark 15:5) Without one word to His own defence, He was crucified. His tender mercy was never more evident than this.
When I have sinned; when I have wandered; when I am weary of the race, my Lord cloaked in His tender mercy comes along side me and whispers, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” (Deut. 31:6) When I have fallen, or have got myself stuck in the thorns (Ps. 55:18) and I cry out to Him, He gently untangles me and says, “Come along, little lamb.”
Today, let us be still. Let us remember His tenderness towards us in lovingkindness. (Ps. 145:8) and praise Him continually for His tender grace. (John 1:14) Let us rejoice that our God is a tender God, and with the Psalmist cry out, “The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His works. The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear Him; He also hears their cry and saves them. The Lord preserves all who love Him.” (145:17-20a)
Tender is He.