Cut the Snarky
Verse 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Now that we are on track with our rejoicing we look to Paul’s next reminder to his friends. This one is not easy and will definitely make us stand out in our world today.
Gentleness is not a word that we could use to describe many people in our world today. Not even many in the Church could wear a badge that says we are known for our gentleness. We live in a society that presses forward in mostly selfish ways and seldom, if ever, can selfishness and gentleness be joint in effort. Selfishness often leads us to be harsh as we state our opinions and beliefs more forcefully. We don’t communicate in a way that shows the gentleness of Christ.
A few minutes in a grocery store will expose the lack of gentleness in society. Trying to push your cart down a crowded aisle in a gentle manner will likely get you bumped into, pushed aside or run over. People grab the last item off the shelf quickly so that no one else can get it before they do. Being gentle in an environment where no one else is living in gentleness is not easy but Paul didn’t say do it just when it was easy.
Another place where gentleness can be less evident is among a family, including a church family. It is hard to be gentle to those we rub elbows with the most. It is so easy to come back with a snarky comment or harsh words when it is family. We love them and they love us and so for whatever reason we think it is ok to treat them with less gentleness than we use towards others.
Paul didn’t say learn to be gentle, he said to let their gentleness be evident to all. He knew that they already possessed what was needed for gentleness of character, they had the Holy Spirit and gentleness is part of the fruit of having Him in our lives. While they already possessed it they did have to make the effort for it to be evident. It isn’t a natural trait of mankind and therefore needs to be lived out to show Christ. Paul knew that living lives of gentleness would point people to Jesus and His gentle Character.
Making It Personal
Where is gentleness most evident in your life? Where is it least evident? What are you going to do to fix that?
Making It Personal Kids
Are you gentle with others? How does Jesus want you to be gentle? Who can you show gentleness to today?
Father, Your gentle, loving ways are a great example for us. We want to be seen as reflecting You, please teach us to be gentle to everyone. In Jesus’ name, amen.