Anyone that knows me probably wouldn’t use gentle to define me, bull in a china shop- maybe, but not gentle. I’m loud, opinionated, a rule maker and keeper, list checker… yet this time of year when hallmark is out to make all of us cry with their sappy wonderful movies, my strong personality melts. I remember watching these movies with my mom and as I watch the gentleness within some of the best movies, I want to make my attitude more gentle and quite. Bringing alive gentleness for the holidays – Well done, Hallmark!
Regardless of your personality we can all appreciate the way that gentleness makes people approachable, safe and able to receive anyone with peace. Gentleness, however, seems to be misunderstood as weakness or being passive/not confrontational, but that’s not what we see in the Bible.
To fully understand what gentleness is, let’s look at the gentle and strong elephant. Elephants have been used for years to help carry large logs or uproot trees, their trunks alone are an embodiment of strength, having over 40,000 muscles, yet within the strength of this large animal and strong trunk has precise control. They can uproot trees, yet we’ve all seen the famously cute, Suda, painting. That is gentleness – Strength with precise control. Suda the Elephant Painting
Gentleness is NOT Weakness
Every person is powerful. With our words or actions we have the ability to hurt or help one another. One small action or word is all it takes to give or take life from someone, yet, not many of us take our words or actions that seriously. Biblical gentleness is not weakness, to be gentle is to have a humble heart and a peaceful mind that is submitted wholly to God’s plan. It’s an attitude, a choice.
Gentleness, however, isn’t weakness. It’s not letting our children, husbands, employees.. get away with things or walk over us, but it’s speaking truth, even the hard truth, with gentleness so that the truth can be received. Ever had a conversation with someone that was trying to correct you/your behavior and they did it with a harsh tone. Even though you can hear a bit of truth in what they are saying, everything within you rejects the change just because of the way they told you? Think for a moment – how do you provide correction to your husband, your children, employees….?
Being gentle when correction or direction needs to be given is never easy, but coming at the situation with a humble heart and giving up our right to judge will improve our ability to gently correct those
“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love” Ephesians 4:2
The Intentional Wife & Mom
Thinking about where I was 6 years ago and where I am today, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude to the people that helped me find my way back to Christ. These people were able to have the biggest impact on my life because of their kindness, gentleness, patience and openness to connect with me. without their attitude of gentleness, I wouldn’t be where I am today, I owe so much to them.
If there attitudes of gentleness could transform my life in a short time, I wonder the impact I could have if my attitude was of gentleness with my husband and children.
My bull-in-a-china-shop personality needs to be transformed into gentleness – pulling in the reigns of my bull like strength and living out an attitude of precise control. I believe that through gentleness hearts change, I also believe that there needs to be intentionality in how we live out this attitude, how we practice it and learn how to use it to correct and to coach our families.
Gentleness will come more naturally to us as we trust in God’s work within each one of us. We are all on our own journeys and each journey requires something different from God and from us. If I just think about my husband and three girls, it’s clear each one requires a different coaching, affection and guidance. Living gentle is trusting that God is using you, working in you, working in them and that HIS plan will work.