Monday, January 4, 2016

“Remind the people ... to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone” — Titus 3:1-2

Being gentle is a difficult task. It’s hard to be gentle to the person who talks behind your back. It’s hard to watch a loved one give into the same sin over and over again. We often hate the parents who put their desires before their children’s.  I’m sure we’ve all looked, exasperated, at another person’s life and thought, “How could she do that again?” or  “I don’t understand why he behaves that way.” At the heart of these thoughts is a sense that we are better than they are or that we would never behave that way.
     I’m not always gentle. But I love it when I am and it is what I want to be all the time.  People don’t usually associate being gentle with being strong. And I get it. But the more I thought about it, the more I started to wonder if there’s really anything stronger than being gentle?   I used to think that to be a good person, a gentle person, I had to put up with everything, be nice no matter how I was treated, no matter how I was hurt by others words or actions, no matter how unhappy I was inside. Now I know that in order for gentleness to be my true strength, I need to show it, and myself, proper respect.  Personally, I view gentleness as a choice, a powerful one. I choose to be gentle, but that doesn’t mean I’m a doormat. And by making gentleness a conscious choice, I am making it my strength, instead of allowing it to make me a victim.  When I’m able to be gentle with others, I know I’m with my people, because I get to be me, at my best, at my most peaceful, at my most helpful, at my strongest.  One definition of “gentle” is being “free from harshness, sternness, or violence.” When people are harsh, stern or violent with others, they’re coming from a place of weakness. Weakness that leads them to try and control, manipulate, overpower, condescend, criticize, and/or demean.  When you’re gentle, authentically gentle, you’re not looking to gain power over someone or something, you’re just you, being you, at your best, at your happiest, your most helpful, your most supportive, your most giving, your most inspired.  
     I think gentleness is intertwined with kindness. If you are gentle, you are calm. Gentleness is a quality that comes from the heart and soul especially those hearts that have been truly given to Christ. Truly gentle people give of themselves, and they empathize with others. They establish peace.  Some associate gentleness with passivity and weakness. Not true! Actually gentle people are quite strong because they know how to remain calm and show restraint. When a gentle person becomes angry or frustrated, they keep emotions in check and control their reactions. They do not rage at others, rather they remain composed.
      Being gentle is something you must work at, and it does not come easy. Some of the strongest people I have ever known have been the most gentle, and through their actions they have shown others how to be kind. Gentleness is reflected in how you treat others.  “And the second is like unto it, love your neighbor as yourself.”   It is what Christ calls us to do and to be.
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