How to be gentle when life plays rough
Gentleness is not weakness. Gentleness, especially in the face of intimidation or aggression, is in fact a sign of great personal strength, perfectly harnessed. Being gentle when the situation is calm and lovely is not a challenge. Being gentle when someone bangs into you with their cart at the store, cuts you up on the freeway or passes over you for promotion, is when the test begins.
Gentleness is a choice. It is a choice not to react even when you would be perfectly ‘within your rights’ to react with anger. But when you have received full forgiveness and freedom from all your mistakes and failings - the Holy Spirit in you urges you NOT to react as you could - but to react with love and purpose.
Proverbs 15:1 says that a gentle word turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. When anger gets 'stirred up', something bad is cooking. The evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in your life is that even where something bad is cooking, you can be the person to come in and calm the situation, right the wrongs and make peace break out!
Gentleness can be like a long, cool drink to a course, dry throat that has been shouting at you. Gentleness is a warm hug and encouraging words when your spouse has had a bad day and the house is a bombsite. Gentleness is listening intently when you would rather butt in with your own viewpoint.
Gentleness is a bit like a harness that constrains and re-directs your emotions when they’re trying to go haywire - and instead send them in the direction of love.
You might be naturally a gentle person - or you might be like a bull in a china shop (more my style!) but gentleness, as a fruit of walking in the Spirit of God, can be learned. You can remind yourself to stop - even mid-flow - and ask yourself 'Is what I'm about to say....'
If what you are about to let pass your lips is few, or none, of these things - then it is what the Bible calls 'slander'. Ephesians 4:15 exhorts you to 'speak the truth in love' because we have all known that sting of truth that was not spoken in love. it is also possible that you may believe that you're saying something out of love - but it's not really Godly love. So you also need to consider 'is what I'm about to say or do necessary? Is it kind or is it bitter? Will it inspire or will it deflate? Who will benefit from what I'm about to say?
For us women, who allegedly have around 30,000 words a day to share with the world, it can be tough to always speak with gentleness. But you can ask the Holy Spirit daily to help you be more deliberate and thoughtful as you communicate with those around you.
Gentleness is about surrendering your 'right' to lash right back out at your Problem and being empowered by His Spirit to choose another way. And how can you choose another way? Because you are secure and confident in God that He will see to it that you are not mistreated in the long run. He is your justice.
Being gentle is incredibly powerful for helping to build up and strengthen your best relationships - but it is also very attractive to people because they feel safe around a person who is able to overcome their urge to be harsh.
As you pray for the help of the Holy Spirit, not just day to day - but moment to moment - He can help you to redirect those hot emotions into something that shows that not only do you truly appreciate God's mercy towards you - but you willingly show it to others.
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