If I were interviewing for a job and was asked to use three words to describe myself or my strengths, gentleness would not make the list ... probably not even in the top 50.
- I am quick to speak & slow to listen.
- I go from calm to crazy in -5 seconds, when the right buttons are pushed.
- I hastily judge people, without giving them a chance.
Do you still want to be friends?!
Don't answer that.
So, my quiet time a few days ago led me into a word search on gentleness. I confessed to God how harsh I am with Elizabeth if (when?) she comes out of her room after bedtime - not to mention other times. Having been forgiven, the world gentleness came to mind.
I know, as perhaps do you, that it's part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). I wanted to know more, checking my concordance for some other verses that include the word gentle or gentleness. Here's what I found. (I've linked to the verses, to shorten the post.)
Prov 15:1 - gentle answer leads to good - harsh word leads to badZec 9:9 & Matt 21:5 - Our Lord came gentle and riding a donkey when he entered Jerusalem a week before his crucifixion.Matt 11: 28-30 - Jesus calls himself gentle and humble in heart and tells his hearers rest is found in Him.I Pet 3:4 - The internal, unfading beauty, of a gentle and quiet spirit, is of great worth in God's sight.Col 3:12 - God's people, chosen and loved, should clothe themselves in gentleness, among other things.I Tim 6:11 - Paul exhorts Timothy to pursue gentleness in addition to big holy things like righteousness, godliness, faith, etc.I Pet 3:15 - Believers must be ready to give an answer for their hope, but in gentleness and with respect.
Here are a few of my conclusions:
- Followers of Christ should grow in gentleness as they mature in faith; our Savior is gentle and we have His spirit in us to cultivate the fruit of gentleness.
- Gentleness is good for relationships. Others are blessed as we give gentle answers: our kids, our husbands, our neighbors, our enemies.
- Since a gentle and quiet spirit is of great worth in God's sight, I want to pursue gentleness. I love that it is an unfading beauty (see the I Peter 3:4 link). We're going to get older, saggier, and wrinklier, but we can invest ourselves in unfading, inner beauty that pleases God. Cool, huh?
I don't know exactly how I'm going to grow more in this gentleness thing, but since God brought it to mind, I have a *funny feeling* He'll provide me with plenty of opportunities to practice.
It will likely involve a lot of repentance.
Praise God, His grace never runs dry. Phew!
Any thoughts on gentleness you'd like to share with a fellow sojourner?