Wednesday, October 10, 2012

THE POWER OF GENTLENESS

"Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength."
~Francis de Sales

Some think that gentleness implies weakness. But I have found the opposite to be true. A gentle response packs a powerful punch, and its infuence can be far-reaching. I love what Beth Moore says about it, "Gentleness is the power and strength created by submitting to God's will. Gentleness is responsibility with power."

How much easier it is to react in the heat of the moment ~ to push until you get your point across ~ to have the last word, determined to prove you are right. But these are signs of taking the low road. I recognize them right away. Because I have walked this path too often.

It's the high road I want to travel on. And who better to show me the way than my grandma. She walked it every day. Her touch, her words, and her heart were cloaked in gentleness. I wonder, did my grandma ever slam a cupboard in utter frustration? Did she ever raise her voice in anger at her husband? I doubt it.

Grandma knew how to let things go. She didn't stew, didn't blow things out of proportion. She seemed to have a forgiving nature, because I never saw her in conflict with anyone. All that she said and did were with a gentleness and a quiet strength you only encounter on the high road.

Me? I get frustrated. I become angry. I've slammed my share of doors. I've said some pretty ugly things. And I have overreacted when I was hurt or offended.

But that's not evidence of a gentle spirit. And I know that if I am going to take the high road of gentleness, I have to change my perspective. It begins with putting myself aside, and looking at others through the lens of agape love. I believe this was my grandma's secret. On gentleness, author W. Phillip Keller wrote, "This is no soft life to live. But it is the restful way. It is the peaceful way. It is the best way. It is His way."

"Both gentleness and meekness are born of power, not weakness...we should never be afraid, therefore, that the gentleness of the Spirit means weakness in character. It takes strength, God's strength, to be truly gentle."
~Jerry Bridges

"Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowances for each other's faults because of your love."
~Ephesians 4:2

"A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare."
~Proverbs 15:1

"Be beautiful in your heart by being gentle and quiet. This kind of beauty will last, and God considers it very special."
~1 Peter 3:4

"Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest."
~Matthew 11:29

"But the wisdom from above is pure first of all; it is also peaceful, gentle, and friendly; it is full of compassion and produces a harvest of good deeds; it is free from prejudice and hypocrisy."
~James 3:17    
   

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