One of those characteristics of a mother is the ability to be gentle. Their nurturing nature looking past the immaturity and childishness we displayed when we were young gave them the ability to see only the soul within. The soul which they helped to create.
All too often the pains and stresses of this life cause our temperament to be affected. Instead of being patient, kind, and gentle with others, we become impatient, frustrated, and outwardly annoyed at the smallest of things.
It’s not that we want to be harsh with others. But, because the world around us has become so harsh to us, it’s almost a byproduct of what we are experiencing. The irony of it all is that when others respond to us in a gentle way when we are harsh with them, those passionate feelings begin to subside.
What is it about a gentle answer, or response, that brings calmness to us? Can’t they see that I’m not in a good mood and just acted ugly toward them? I mean, really? You can’t possibly be that genuine because the average person would have been very offended.
In college, there was an older theology student on our wing who, no matter how much you tried to annoy him (and believe me I tried), would turn to you and just smile with a look that made you know that he loved you even though you were being a big turkey. It wasn’t condescending or ‘holier than thou’. It was just a loving smile and joy that came from within.
Over time, I learned to not be the ‘wing clown’ around him because he would just respond in a loving way. At first, it was really frustrating to me because I couldn’t believe anyone would be that gentle. But, eventually, I came to realize where the source of that joy and gentleness he showed to all of us came from and we became friends.
During a difficult time in my younger years, when I didn’t have a father at home, I had exasperated a few of my school teachers with stupid sound effects and by being the ‘class clown’. It was a 5th grade teacher who expressed gentleness, and great patience with me, who helped to bring focus and normality to my behavior. I excelled that year because of his peaceful, patient, gentle, yet strong, ‘fatherly’ approach even though I was a mess.
Throughout my life, I can look back and find example after example where gentleness played a role in shaping my behavior, other’s behavior, and with our relationship together. I can also see examples of times when the lack of gentleness by myself, or others I was in relationship with, caused damage.
The fact is that we all want to be treated kindly; even when we’re not acting kindly ourselves. And gentleness is a key biproduct of kindness. The Mrs. will be the first to tell you that I need to be very careful in my responses to others as my facial expressions often come across as too harsh when I’m really feeling loving or gentle inside.
How do we get to a place where we can be gentler with others, or even just our own family? How do we become more loving?
Like the beautiful smell of a rose, the scent is just a biproduct of what the rose is. Gentleness is the same way. It’s an outflow of our heart within. It’s also a learned behavior. In the same way, acting harshly can be both a response to an inward pain and a learned behavior.
The Bible calls it a ‘fruit of the Spirit’. God’s Spirit. Living within us. His nature, His nurturing nature, expressed to and through our hearts out to others. When we experience His grace and gentle love in our hearts despite ourselves, we will be able to express that same love and gentleness to others.
So, tonight, here’s to responding to others with a gentle answer instead of harshness in return. Here’s to letting God’s nature, gentleness, overcome the raging pains in our own hearts by giving them all to Him so that we can give His gentleness to others who need it. If I could truly walk in gentleness to others all the time, it would change my life. And, it would change the lives of those around me.
I’ll leave you tonight with a great message below about God’s gentleness. One of my favorite lines in the video is, ‘Gentleness is having the power to break something, but choosing to mend it instead…”
You’re loved today my friend!