We left the safari camp a little later than planned. With some speed we hoped to make it far enough, missing the impending downpour of the seasonal rainstorm. But by the time we reached the main road it had become a thick veil slowing us to a crawl…and then a full stop, as a sea of red lights ahead become a parking lot of vehicles.
The monsoon had transformed a trickling stream into a raging river, washing away the road and swallowing a bus in silt. The asphalt path home had been severed, a huge chunk washed away to leave a gaping crevice dividing oncoming traffic.
‘Gentleness’ is only mentioned about 4 times in the Bible, depending on which translation you are reading. As one of the spiritual gifts, it seemed a bit weird to me especially since most gifts are mentioned many times. Even more interesting are the verses where ‘gentleness’ did appear.
1) It is mentioned in 2 Corinthians 10:1 saying, “I, Paul, appeal to you with the gentleness and kindness of Christ.”
2) Paul uses it as a challenge to “clothe yourself with” in Colossians 3:12
3) And according to Paul it is something you should pursue in 1 Timothy 6:11.
So why was gentleness such an important quality ‘of Christ’, and one we should pursue? Jesus’ character depicts the answer perfectly.
He did not come to the earth in a whirlwind of rage and anger to avenge and destroy. Knowing that all of humanity was blind to their sin and lost, Jesus instead exhibited gentleness throughout his time on earth, even willingly dying on the cross to save the lost.
Have you noticed it is hard to stay angry when you are trying to be gentle? Even harder when you engage the other words mentioned together with gentleness, like patience, love, and mercy.
There are great benefits to gentleness. It requires you to calm down, allow your brain to think clearly, you problem solve faster, and make space for empathy. The act of gentleness also makes room for trust as you listen.
As a Christian, even as a Christian leader, it is easy to let frustration reach ‘torrential rain’ status. Especially when what seems obvious to you, is not always obvious to others. Jesus had a great way to combat this…with gentleness and time away with God to rejuvenate.
We can use his strategies also. Instead of allowing frustration and anger to become torrential, destroying relationships and trust, strengthen your relationship with God, and employ gentleness instead. Allow it to wash away the challenges and nourish the people around you, like a soft rainfall