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Gentleness

...with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.

Ephesians 4:2
Gentleness Book Cover

choosing to believe the best

“In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death.”
—Anne Frank

The truth? Our world can be a scary place. Recent news events continually remind us of humanity’s brokenness. Our news feeds abound with stories of humans, including Christians, behaving in the most horrid and profane ways. And now, when we hear something about someone in our own circle, we often find that we’ve adopted a “guilty until proven innocent” mantra instead of the other way around.

Anne Frank wrote the words above when her family was hiding during the Nazi occupation. She’d seen some of the worst of what human beings could do to each other. The wonder is that she still voiced hope, choosing to believe that goodness still existed in spite of the evil that surrounded her.

The current state of affairs has left many with a jaded outlook on life. How can we, as believers, maintain a benevolent temperament in a world that seems to grow crueler by the day?

the strength of gentleness

Paul wrote that our lives are to be characterized by gentleness, a word also referred to as meekness in the Bible. Gleaning from a dictionary’s description of meekness, we can come away with a picture of a timid, indecisive person who lacks confidence and passion.

But none of the previously mentioned words seem characteristic of Jesus, do they? Didn’t he say that he was gentle and humble (Matthew11:29)? Looking at the example of Jesus’s life on earth, we come away with a much different picture of gentleness.

Just because a person is quiet does not mean she is meek, and just because a person is more outgoing and voices her opinions does not mean she lacks gentleness.

Jesus was committed to completing the Father’s will, modeling a life of submission and service.

Gentleness always involves a choice—choosing to navigate through life with kindness over harshness, controlled behavior over uncontrolled, calmness over volatility. A posture of gentleness involves being teachable and responsive to others.

We know from experience that this kind of lifestyle takes strength, strength that we do not possess. But as we yield to the Spirit, we draw from his power and rely on him to aid us in properly responding to every situation.

As we encounter a world that displays its brokenness in so many evil ways, we continually trust in God to take care of us as we produce the lifestyle he desires of us.

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Daily Question

Before today's reading, how did you define gentleness? Was it a desired trait? Think about Jesus' life, as you've read about it in the Scriptures. What do you observe about gentleness? Now think about Paul's exhortation toward gentleness in our reading today. In what ways can you show gentleness in your relationships this week? With a particularly challenging person or situation? Ask a friend or fellow church member to pray with you for help.

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