Gentle is probably not the first word that comes to mind when people think of me.
Loud. Might be. Opinionated? For sure. Shoes? Probably. Fierce could be on the list. Mostly, because we associate fierceness with tenacity and strength of will. Strength of will? I have. (Sense? Not so much.) Gentle? Might come somewhere after “small feet” and “big butt” on my list of recognizable traits.
Which I’d be okay with… if the bible wasn’t so full of exhortations to be gentle.
In my mind- “Gentle” has a southern accent. “Gentle” speaks quietly and only when necessary. “Gentle” is kind. “Gentle” is never abrasive. (Abrasive= not a fruit of the spirit. I checked. Neither is sarcasm. However, I’m looking into the greek, hebrew and aramaic root words in case I can find something to twist, I’ll keep you posted.) “Gentle” is blessed knows it and says it. Not in the pseudo-curse-word “Bless it” kind of way. “Gentle” sips sweet tea on the porch and serves fresh baked cookies to the neighborhood without judgement or angst about the neighborhood association.
In short- “Gentle” is not me.
Which bothers me. Because the bible is full of exhortations and reminders to be gentle.
Galatians 5:23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Philippians 4:5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
1 Timothy 6:11 [ Final Charge to Timothy ] But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
1 Peter 3:15 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
Thinking about the MOPS Theme of A Fierce Flourishing, I want to flourish in gentleness. But does that mean I need a southern accent? A mouth transplant? Duct tape braces? I’m not sure. I’ve tried everything short of duct tape and none of it has made me more gentle. Just fake sounding and weird. (I live outside of Detroit.. not much natural southern gentility here.Justsayin.)
With full intent to find a loophole- I did a little research on the biblical meaning of Gentleness. Here’s what I found:
Original Word: πρᾳΰτης, τητος, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Phonetic Spelling: (prah-oo’-tace)
Short Definition: mildness, gentleness
Definition: mildness, gentleness.
Cognate: 4240 praýtēs (compare 4236 /praótēs, another feminine noun which is also derived from the root pra-, emphasizing the divine origin of the meekness) – meekness (“gentle strength”) which expresses power with reserve and gentleness. See 4236 (praotes).
For the believer, meekness (4240 /praýtēs, “gentle-force”) begins with the Lord’s inspiration and finishes by His direction and empowerment. It is a divinely-balanced virtue that can only operate through faith (cf. 1 Tim 6:11; 2 Tim 2:22-25).
That. Sounds fierce. Power with reserve. Strength under control. It also sounds like Jesus- who was the epitome of gentleness.
That sounds equally daunting- and more possible. I mean-I’m half ay there.. I have strength.. just not always under control! No sweet tea required! (If I ever get involved with politics- it will be over the abomination that is sweet tea. Good thing that won’t happen. I’m fine if you drink sweet tea.. just don’t force it upon me. Or mess up my order at McDonald’s. DISGUSTING.)
Maybe, instead of looking for biblical loopholes,(Am I the only one who does that?) I need to start looking for opportunities to exercise gentle force. Maybe, instead of a fake southern accent, I need to seek the one who can inspire me to gentleness and make it true through His direction and empowerment.
Join me? Let’s pray:
Lord, as I get prepared for #MomCon2015 make me Fiercely Flourish in Gentleness. Teach me what gentleness really is. Make me fierce and wise and know how to use my strength in ways that honor you. I love you Lord- amen.
So- what about you?
- What does the word Gentleness mean to you?
- What do you picture when you here the word “gentle”?
- When have you experienced gentleness?
- What would Fiercely flourishing in gentleness look like?
I think I’d be slower to anger.. and maybe let more things go without lowering the hammer of doom…I bet this week will give me lots of opportunities to practice all of the above;)