Reflection: I love Paul’s appeal for gentleness, but it isn’t a celebrated quality is it? It wasn’t the way of the Philippians’ world and it’s not generally the way of ours either. Gentleness may even be considered a fault because gentle people get walked over, laughed at, and ignored. The dictionary describes gentleness as mild, moderate, soft, delicate, and submissive. Is this what we want to be? Well, perhaps it is.
Charles Swindoll said this:
“In our rugged individualism we think of gentleness as weakness – being soft and spineless. Not so. Gentleness is having strength under control, being calm and peaceful in a heated atmosphere, emitting a soothing effect on those who are angry or beside themselves, and possessing tact and gracious courtesy that causes others to retain their self-esteem and dignity.”
The Greeks defined gentleness as ‘power under control’, and their word picture was of a horse that had to be tamed – a powerful animal whose passion and power was fully and completely under control – there’s no sense of a door mat in that. Power doesn’t have to be bad – abuse of power, definitely – but power and passion under control and used wisely for good is something to aspire to.
Question: When you think about the quality of gentleness, who comes to mind? Do you admire this quality? Do you admire this person?
Prayer: Gracious God, please make me gentle. May my strength be under control, may I bring a calm and peaceful presence into heated places, and may I possess such tact and gracious courtesy that it could only come from you! Amen.