Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Gentleness

Yesterday afternoon, I came across this verse:
"Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near." ~ Philippians 4:5
I started pondering and thinking about what it means to be gentle. How is that evident to all those around me? And, I love that the next sentence reminds me that the Lord is near - and I want that to be obvious to those who spend time with me.

What comes to mind when I think of gentleness? I immediately think of something soft and delicate - like the flower pictured above. It speaks of gentleness to me. I think of "gentle" scents and even the gentle cycle on the washing machine - which handles our delicate clothing with care and a softer wash.

But, I wanted to know more about gentleness as a characteristic and spriritual discipline. So, I looked up some more verses that contain this word ~ gentleness. I learned that God showed Himself in the Old Testament through a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:12). That a lamb is gentle. That Jesus was gentle riding on a colt into town. Wind can be gentle (Acts 27:13). A gentle answer can turn away anger (Proverbs 15:1). Described as the opposite of violence (1 Timothy 3:3).

I also looked up the Hebrew and/or Greek definitions for the words used in these verses. I learned that gentleness also means being considerate, tender, soft, meek and humble. My favorite definition is this:
praus = gentle, meek, the positive moral quality of dealing with people in a kind manner, with humility and consideration.
Overall, the themes I saw throughout all the verses were these:
* Jesus is our model (2 Corinthians 10:1 and Matthew 11:29) and gentleness is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23) - when He is in us and we walk with Him.
* Pursue gentleness (1 Timothy 6:11), put it on (Colossians 3:12) and choose it (Ephesians 4:2)!
* Let it fill me and make me beautiful from the inside out (1 Peter 3:4)!
* Gentleness should characterize how I treat others (Philippians 4:5) and how I mother my children (1 Thessalonians 2:7).
* Gentleness sets an example to those around me of my witness for Christ (1 Peter 3:15).
"...we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children." ~ 1 Thessalonians 2:7

"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." ~ 1 Peter 3:3-4

"...pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness." ~ 1 Timothy 6:11
How would you describe gentleness? How do you evidence it in the lives of those around you? This is my goal today - to be gentle and kind in my treatment of all those around me.

10 comments:

carrie said...

Monica,

I would say one definition for gentleness would be "calm wisdom."

love you, me

Melissa @ Breath of Life said...

I don't know that I have a definition for it, but I know I want it!

Heather said...

I really enjoyed this post!!
Heather

Happy Husband said...

I am still trying to figure out how they got a picture of you in a Greek dictionary. Because I know that was what was there when you looked up "Gentle."

Leah in Iowa said...

Awwww..... was that last comment from YOUR husband? What a kind thing to do. From everything I've read about you, Monica, you already have a gentleness about you. I know it's God working through you, and it's very becoming on you! =)

shekinahhvac said...

mmmm...very good, thank you for the reminder. what a sweetheart you are

blessings

thehomespunheart said...

Carrie: I love those words you shared, "calm wisdom" ~ they are beautiful and evoke a feeling in me that wants to achieve that!

David: You are the best - you bring out gentleness in me.

Leah: Yes, that was from my hubby. He is the best! Thank you for your kind words!

Thanks everyone for commenting - let's spread gentleness today!

Mrs. E said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrs. E said...

I forgot to mention that my definition of gentleness is to give to the less fortunate. I think God would want us to take of those who need taking care of even if they are total strangers.

I keep a box of bottled water and cereal bars in the trunk of my car. When I see a homeless person I don't judge them for I do not know their circumstances but I feel the need to share what I can...gentle nurturing if you will.

Julie Fink said...

What a beautiful blog you have. I linked over from Susan's and I'm glad I did. Thanks for the sweet encouragement.