Strong spirits: strong enough to be gentle, gentle enough to be strong


Are you strong enough to be gentle?

Many think of gentleness as weakness. It is not. Gentleness is power in repose. It is knowing your strength and controlling it. It is exercising kindness, patience, self control. It is speaking a soft word when it would be easy to be angry. Or not speaking at all, if to do so would hurt.

Jesus modeled for us what gentleness is. He was - and is - the ultimate gentle-man. Consider how he dealt with all the people who approached him with their myriad needs. Do you ever see him lashing out? Unkind? Harsh? No. What you see is what we have already described.

And yet, we know he was powerful. He spoke to the roiling sea and it became calm, gentle. He took on the traditionalists in the temple, overturning tables, and demanding that the temple was to be a house of prayer. That doesn't sound like a weak man. Gentleness allows for both anger and action when they are appropriate.

"Then neither do I condemn you... Go now and leave your life of sin." Jesus to a woman caught in adultery (John 1:1-11)

"But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect..." Peter to his friends (1 Peter 3:15)

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Jesus to his followers (Matthew 11:29)

Jesus invites us to be gentle as he is. Are you?

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