February 7, 2011 - Dressed in Gentleness


A verse that always discombobulates and flusters me is Philippians 4:5 - "Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near." I think that gentleness is not just an outward manner of self-control and external pleasantries, but an inner expression of who I truly am at my very inner core. Without Grace transforming my inner man, my external behavior is really nothing but pretense and hypocrisy and ABC: accusing, blaming and complaining, without deep self-evaluation and humility.

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Dressed in Gentleness

Once in a while we meet a gentle person. Gentleness is a virtue hard to find in a society that admires toughness and roughness. We are encouraged to get things done and to get them done fast, even when people get hurt in the process. Success, accomplishment, and productivity count. But the cost is high. There is no place for gentleness in such a milieu.

Gentle is the one who does "not break the crushed reed, or snuff the faltering wick" (Matthew 12:20). Gentle is the one who is attentive to the strengths and weaknesses of the other and enjoys being together more than accomplishing something. A gentle person treads lightly, listens carefully, looks tenderly, and touches with reverence. A gentle person knows that true growth requires nurture, not force. Let's dress ourselves with gentleness. In our tough and often unbending world our gentleness can be a vivid reminder of the presence of God among us.

For the gospel of God's grace (Acts 20:24),
Ben (312) 363-8578

"There is no deeper pathos in the spiritual life of man than the cruelty of righteous people." Reinhold Niebuhr, An Interpretation of Christian Ethics

"Forgiving love is a possibility only for those who know that they are not good, who feel themselves in need of divine mercy...and know that the differences between the good man and the bad man are insignificant in (God's) sight." Niebuhr

"Forgiveness places us on a boundary between enmity and friendship, between exclusion and embrace. It tears down the wall of hostility that wrongdoing erects, but it doesn't take us into the territory of friendship. Often, that's all we can muster the strength to do, and all that offenders will allow us." Miroslav Volf, Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace

"Humility is a spirit of self-examination. It's a hermeneutic of suspicion toward yourself and charity toward people you disagree with." Richard Mouw, President of Fuller Theological Seminary

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