“So is so strong as gentleness. Nothing is so gentle as real strength.” – Anonymous
“Let your gentleness be evident to all, the Lord is near.” – Philippians 4.5
There is a harshness to life in America that troubles me greatly. People have such critical spirits and the venom of those spirits often go viral spewing their anger and hatred on so many others. This critical spirit has been magnified by a rampant incivility that stomps and bashes and even destroys without a thought to the long-term effect on the well-being of our communities. We are quick to litigate or legislate when dialogue and an attempt at understanding could have saved us from many relational and civil demons. We demonize our opponents in such a way that there can be no wholeness to relationships and no healing to our land.
One of the fruit of the Spirit that I as a Christian pray is evidenced in my life is called gentleness (Galatians 5.22-3). The Greek word has the meaning “restraint coupled with strength and courage.”
It is the opposite of hubris, the Greek word for haughty, boastful insolence. In the Bible gentleness is tied to the idea of humility Gentleness includes true humility that does not consider itself too good or too exalted for humble tasks.
A corporal at Valley Forge who was directing three men as they tried to lift a log into place. It was too heavy, but the corporal commanded again and again, “All right, men, one, two, three, lift!” A man in an overcoat came by and said to the corporal, ‘Why don’t you help them?” The corporal pulled himself up to full height and replied, “Sir, I am a corporal.” Without a word the man stepped over and with his help the log went easily into place. The man was George Washington.
Gentleness is not a synonym for doormat. It is a quality of character that just might start to help to heal our nation.