Philippians 4:5: Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
I never read this verse before.
Well, okay, I’ve read it dozens of times. It’s sandwiched between two of my favorite verses, about rejoicing always and not being anxious about anything.
But when I noticed it recently as I was looking for the rejoice verse, it struck me like new, fresh rain.
My hard-hearted self probably looked at the verse above and thought, “Yeah, better be gentle. Jesus is near, watching you. Better be good.”
That’s not what it means. It means: “Be gentle. Jesus is near you, showering his gentleness on you, and there’s more than plenty to share.”
I crave gentleness, both to me and from me.
I enjoy reading romance, mystery, action, sure. But the things that stick to me in books, that bring me back again and again, are gentle words, touches.
A husband and wife who hold each other and together shed tears over disappointment and loss. Brothers and sisters who play together with teasing and laughter. Friends who use hands and arms and words to support, encourage, share sorrow.
I strive in my own writing to show gentleness.
Jesus was a man who spoke truth without hesitation. And he is gentle.
When the people wanted to condemn the woman in John 8 to death, Jesus offered her forgiveness and a new life.
For the man in Luke 8, who was possessed by demons, chained, and living in tombs, Jesus gave him a new set of clothes.
He made mud with his hands, then laid them on the eyes of the man in John 9.
In Matthew 8, he quickly, and willingly, touched the man with leprosy.
Mark 10:16: And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
1 Kings 19: 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
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.
Matthew 11: 28-29: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.