Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Gentle Giants

It's the strong hand, not the weak one, that must learn to be gentle. Gary Thomas.

My friend Joan is the epitome of gentleness. I have never heard her raise her voice, speak sarcastically, berate someone or lose her temper. I cannot claim the same for myself.

I have organized an event for women with Joan, and let me tell you, that process can cause you to pull your hair out--or someone else’s. Tension was high at times--like when a person just showed up instead of registering for a hotel room and expected to be accommodated--yet the ever-gracious Joan managed to hold it together and respond in love.

Joan exudes the gentleness of Jesus. Jesus is gentle: “I am gentle and humble of heart” (Matthew 11:29).  God showed up in Elijah’s cave in a gentle whisper, not in the earthquake, or the fire, as some would think (1 Kings 19:11-13). Paul instructs us that gentleness is a fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22).

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

One definition of gentle is “not harsh or severe.” For the mature believer, if operating under the influence of the Holy Spirit, harshness should not be the default position when angered, stressed or annoyed.  If it is, we need to spend more time with the gentle giants of faith: Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and friends and teachers who bear that kind of fruit.

My husband is one of those gentle giants. He is humble and kind--I can’t remember him exhibiting harshness, even when disciplining our children.  Gentleness is not wimpiness: Tim would take a bullet for any one of his family. It is the ability to turn the other cheek, sacrifice for others and absorb the ire of those who may unfairly accuse or lose a temper without returning the same.

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

This world is full of cynics and a harsh reality of unkindness and selfishness. How fresh and appealing is the gentle spirit! God will help us exude His gentleness.

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

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