Philippians 4:5, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”
I have liked this verse for a while; it intrigues me. It was the verse on our church building marque sign for a long time. Gentleness. Is it a lost art? Is it even aspired to these days? Of all the things we’re tracking and trying to develop in our lives, is gentleness even on the list?
I was told as a young Christian that I should be many things, but gentleness isn’t one I can really remember being stressed. I was told to be courageous, convicted, radical, even obnoxious. I was taught that God liked it when I was “in your face” on fire for Jesus! I had to stand out, be set apart, be different, be totally crazy for God… gentleness for the babies. We liked triumphal verses like 4:13, tell me what I can do! I can accomplish anything! The kicker is that my gentleness is your gain! Maybe that’s Paul’s whole point?
I think that conviction exists in gentleness, maybe even more than in radical counter-culturalism. I bet that gentleness opens doors that brashness only closes. I bet that gentleness listens better than harshness, understands more than meanness, and gentleness creates more peace than antagonism. I just bet. I just bet I’ll meet more people tomorrow who need my gentleness than need my jerkiness.