“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12 (NIV)
Photo by Deborah Hudson, Hudson Crafted
This week, the word “gentleness” has been on my heart.
Thinking of gentleness evokes sweet images of kittens, babies, and cozy blankets. But looking deeper into scripture, gentleness can also be vibrantly strong. After spending some time considering gentleness, I share three questions that bubbled up in hopes they are an encouragement to you.
“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Philippians 4:5 (NIV) These words reminded me that by displaying our gentleness, we radiate the power of His nearness.
Question One: When people see me, do they see my gentleness first?
When you compare this same passage in other translations, God reveals His creativity in how He speaks to us. Here is Philippians 4:5 from The Message:
“Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!” (MSG)
Here we see gentleness can be about celebration too, reveling in God’s goodness. Gentleness is showing others how you, along with God, are on their side. Gentleness means you are setting the tone of working with them and not against them.
Question Two: Does my attitude of gentleness celebrate God and demonstrate I am for those around me?
Lastly, I compared Philippians 4:5 in the English Standard Version:
“Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;” (ESV)
Here gentleness is equated to reasonableness. Grounded in this idea, gentleness feels sure-footed, solid and foundational as Christ is our firm ground to stand. I love the idea that being gentle with ourselves and others is the most reasonable thing we can do.
Question Three: Is my reasonable gentle approach apparent to everyone?
Marinating on these three versions of the same verse showed me there is more to the idea of gentleness than soft-spoken words and heartfelt notions. Embracing gentleness means we can have confidence in God’s nearness. Gentleness is a reasonable, foundational approach. Gentleness means we celebrate His presence.
Despite the stormy times, I can still count on the gentleness of Christ. I can still approach the crazy swirl of life with an attitude of gentleness. I can celebrate God is still on the throne. None of this life surprises Him. The chaos can rule the world, but the chaos doesn’t have to rule me. I can choose gentleness.