Gentleness. A simple word. Easily understood, right? Easily carried out in action, right? RIGHT? Here is the arrow that stabbed me this morning....
""Not to be gentle is sin." ~ George Bethune, 1839
I don't know about you but this humbled me. I thought about my work relationships and the students I teach at the college...OK, I'm good there, I think, most of the time I'm considerate (but those other times? SIN).
I thought about my patients-got it! At least 99% of the time (the other 1%-SIN).
Then I thought about my family. Oh boy...how have my responses been to them? My abrupt or hurtful words-SIN. My inattentiveness to their needs-SIN. My short fuse-SIN.
What I thought might be good in my life, I instead found to be rather ugly more times than not as I measured it to the thoughts of Jerry Bridges in his book "The Practice of Godliness":
- A profile of gentleness as it should be in our lives will first include actively seeking to make others feel at ease, or "restful" in our presence (Matthew 11:28-29)
- We should be sensitive to others opinions and ideals
- We should also avoid displaying our commitment to Christian discipline in such a way to make others feel guilty
- Gentleness will demonstrate respect for the personal dignity of the other person.
- When necessary, it will seek to change a wrong opinion or attitude by persuasion and kindness, not by domination or intimidation.
- Gentleness will also avoid blunt speech and abrupt manner, instead seeking to answer everyone with sensitivity and respect, ready to show consideration toward all (Phil. 4:5).
- He is sensitive to the reaction of others to his words and considerate of how others may feel about what he says.
- The gentle Christan will not feel threatened by opposition or resent those who oppose him (2 Tim 2).
- The gentle Christian will not degrade or belittle or gossip about the brother who falls into some sin.
- Instead of insisting on the letter of the law, [the gentle Christian] ask "what is the right thing to do in this situation?"
But you, [insert your name here], are a woman of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. ~ 1 Tim. 6:11 (NLT)
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. ~ Colossians 3:12 (NKJV)
To be gentle requires God's wisdom...
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. ~ James 3:17 (NLT)
Do you value gentleness as much as God does? He is the perfect imitator of gentleness. You see it in one of my favorite verses in Isaiah 40:11:
He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young.
Gentleness is not meant for the weak-it requires the power of God in your life. I know I am praying for Him to work through me in this area, that I would be able to scoop down and help someone in need, to be be kind, gentle, and considerate in my words and actions. I plan to start at home. It will require a toughness on my part to be consistent, to actively practice His character trait of gentleness. How's your "gentleness meter" reading today friend?
Keep tough, be gentle....