Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Isn't that picture the definition of gentleness? I found it, and 1,000 other gems in a circa 1949 book called Look and Learn, given to Big Guy by one of his aunts. Some of the illustrations are downright hilarious (offensive?) by today's standards, but I'll share those later. For now, let's talk about gentleness.

I have it on my mind because I recently discovered this verse:

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Philippians 4:5

Funny. That verse is right before one I cited not long ago. See what happens when you actually open your Bible. . . you find more good stuff!

So, I read that verse and it stopped me cold. Gentleness is not my strong suit. Some of you may be saying, "What?? But you're so nice." Well, thank you, but, nice and gentle are not the same thing.

I am nice to almost everyone I meet. I use manners, I smile, and I try to be helpful. My niceness is sincere, but kind of automatic. I don't think about it. (I'm sure there are some out there who think I'm not nice. To them, sorry.) But gentle? Gentle I've got to think about. Gentle requires a humble heart, like Jesus:

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29

I don't automatically have that.

I have a tendency to be sharp. Usually with those I love the most. Hubby asks, "How was your day?" and I start my list of complaints. The children disobey and I yell. Oh sure, there are times when I have legitimate complaints, and there are times when the children need to hear my voice. But let's be honest, its not every single time.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2

Ah, yes. Yes. So true. And yet, I stumble. I speak harsh words. I am not completely humble. I am not patient.

I searched for more guidance on how to be gentle, and I found a new favorite:

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. I Peter 3:3-4.

A gentle and quiet spirit. I think that is reflected in the picture, above. I'm tempted to make fun of it, be sarcastic. But really, if I could cultivate a spirit like that. . . a smiling face, a happy heart, an easy posture and a gentle touch. . . it would be a thing of unfading beauty.

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4 Responses to “Gentleness”

  1. Wow... this post really spoke to me this morning as I struggle with speaking harshly to a certain unruly 3 year old on a daily basis. The verse in Proverbs is one that I'm going to write down and carry with me so that I can start to have a more gentle heart. Thank you, Courtney!!

  2. Need to chew on this. Very thought provoking!

  3. You are so right. "Nice" comes pretty naturally to me, but I could use some serious work on "gentle."

  4. Wonderful post! Thank you for posting it =).