Gentleness…Sensitivity of disposition, kindness of behavior, founded on strength and prompted by love.
It can be found in the biggest and strongest of men, and in the chubby fist of a toddler. What images come to mind for you when you think of gentleness? In a world that is increasingly severe, hard and the complete antithesis of gentle, how can we bring forth the fruit of gentleness in a real-life manner?
First, we can begin with our words. Proverbs 15:1 tells us, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Another version (The Message) puts it this way: “A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire.” Instead of being cuttingly sarcastic or quick to judge and criticize, carefully think about the words you use with others. Do you deliver your thoughts and opinions packaged in love or barbed wire? Can you find a way to couch your speech with tenderness? Do your words diffuse an angry situation, or fuel the fire? Would your demeanor and speech cause people to describe you as gentle as a blossom or more like a prickly cactus? It is amazing to me how the carefully chosen word, and the manner of its delivery, can turn a volatile situation into one of peaceful and harmonious communication and understanding. You and I carry that influence and clout – talk about feeling empowered!
I also think about my actions – I tend to always be running around, racing here and there in my constant quest to fit more into a given day. What if I were to try to act more gently in my actions? Move a bit more calmly, taking a moment to breathe, lessen the frenetic pace, intentionally being mindful of my steps and the world around me? What would that do to my demeanor and stress level? How would that impact those around me?
And finally, what if I were gentler with myself, what would that look like, sound like, feel like in my everyday life? I am my ownharshest critic, often using self-talk to beat myself up at every opportunity, speaking words to me that I would never dare say even to an enemy, it would be too cruel. What if I were to allow myself the benefit of a doubt, or the permission to fail? How might I grow and learn and give to myself, that I might then pour that blessing of gentleness over others?
So, dear reader, are you finding yourself craving this fruit, your mouth watering for a great big bite of gentleness? It’s yours for the taking, and yours for the giving. Begin planting seeds of gentleness today, and joyfully, expectantly, await the harvest they will bring to yourself and those around you.
Let’s start a conversation together to encourage one another as we pursue gentleness. C’mon over now – click HERE!