Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Evident to All

"...clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience" (Colossians 3:12)

"But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness." (1 Timothy 6:11)

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." (1 Peter 3:15-16)

This week's blog carnival topic is gentleness. A topic that sounds easy enough and was certainly easy to do a simple word-search in Bible Gateway to get the above passages. But let the above sink in for a moment. Can these scriptures describe your attitude, your character? Does it describe your brothers and sisters in Christ around you? Sadly, I think this is a fruit of the Spirit we do not see often enough.

But we should. "Let your gentleness be evident to all." (Philippians 4:5) Our gentleness should be seen. And not just at church on Sundays, but every day, in every circumstance. "All" includes the impatient reckless driver on the freeway, the restaurant server who is rude or indifferent, the others stuck in a long line at the grocery store who all have someplace better to be. "All" also includes the non-believers acting in ways contrary to our convictions, believers who do not subscribe to the exact same doctrine, those whose politics do not align with our own, and those who just sometimes make boneheaded decisions. "All" includes our spouses, our children, our mothers-in-law. "All" means all.

We should restore gently (Galatians 6:1), instruct gently (2 Timothy 2:25), and deal gently (Hebrews 5:2) with others. All these passages are about dealing with others' sin. Because "we have all sinned" we should be that much more patient and gentle with others.

The book Living On the Edge breaks Romans 12 into five relationships: God, the world, ourselves, other believers, and the evil around us. It is this last relationship where gentleness can be most evident:

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[a] Do not be conceited.

"Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord. On the contrary:
'If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.'
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
" (Romans 12:14-21)

I will be going through this book over the next several weeks (and hopefully finding a way to tie in with the blog carnival at the same time!). I hope you come back as we break down Romans 12 so that we can grow in these relationships and prayerfully, ultimately, be gentle to all.


Anonymous said...

That verse in Romans really sums it up well. Great thoughts on gentleness, Fatha Frank.

I'll look forward to what you have to share in the future as well.

JC Dude said...

Good thoughts, I enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for sharing!


Glynn said...

Gentleness has to start wih family; if it can't start there, it can't start.

Looking forward to the book discussion.

M.L. Gallagher said...

All means all.

So true -- I really enjoyed the references too!

Fatha Frank said...

Thanks everyone for the comments! Jay, welcome. Please come back often. Hope the book study works. Looking forward to sharing with you all.