I am a Judoka, which means I study Judo. This martial art means “Gentle Way”. I didn’t think it was too gentle the first time I fell, but I’ll get to that in a few posts.
The first lesson we had to learn as judoka was how to fall. It sounds silly to have to learn how to fall, but our own natural instincts can hurt us as we fall. Dislocated wrists, cracked ribs, and broken knees can all result from improper falling techniques.
The same is true with my walk with Christ. I am a perfectionist. Either I do whatever I set out to do perfectly, or I give up. When I fall, my natural instinct is to protect myself by hiding my sin. This only causes more damage because I scramble to cover up what I did, causing me to sin again. This hampers my walk in faith because God calls me to refrain from sinning. This poses a problem though because I am a sinner by nature. In fact, I cannot keep from sinning without the redeeming sacrifice Christ made.
“Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 ESV
So I have to learn how to fall in such a manner that I can get back up to fight sin again. I have to recognize when I am falling so that I acknowledge it and cause as little damage as possible. Judo is the Gentle Way because it softens the blows and protects both participants. Christians must cause as little damage as possible yet be as effective for the cause of Christ as we can be.
Christ displayed a gentle nature when he confronted people regarding their sin. He did so in the most gentle way possible. Even to the accusers of the adulteress in John 8, he did not reveal their sin to the crowd, but rather wrote in the sand and let them know he knew who they truly were, sinners.
“they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?’ This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.'” – John 8:4-7 ESV
As a Judoka and a Christian, I am called to be gentle not only in how I handle others, but how I manage when I stumble and fall. Learning to control my own behavior must come first before I can help anyone else control theirs. This is the foundation of any discipline.