Are you wearing your ashes proud today? Hoping someone will ask you what is on your head? Did you wear your hair back just so you could be easily recognized as a Christian today? Our family won’t receive our ashes until this evening and then it will be bedtime…bummer, no one will be able to see me marked as a Christian…or will they? What if I took St. Paul’s advice, “Let your gentleness be known.” What if I made it a point all day, every day to let my gentleness be known to everyone this Lent? As part of our Bible quotes topic here at The Littlest Way, let’s look at a verse on gentleness.
Bible Quotes: Let Your Gentleness Be Known
You know I love the book of Philippians; it’s called Paul’s “Letter of Joy,” what’s not to love? And each time I read Philippians, I come away with another piece to the joy puzzle. Yes, for me, joy did not come naturally; and some days I still have to remind myself, “I am a joyful person.” Joy was/is like a mysterious puzzle that I seemed to be missing pieces to and yet others not only had all the pieces, they seemed to have spare pieces. I would experience moments of happiness based on exterior circumstances or stimuli but joy was confusing and elusive. Not so much the last few years, but that’s because I’ve been very intentional about my thoughts.
But back to ashes and gentleness right. So reading in Philippians the other day I pause at Philippians 4:5,
Gentleness is the first word that gave me pause. The Lord has been speaking to me about gentleness lately…thankfully He has been gentle with me–get it? (Some other Bible translations use the word, forbearance or modesty. But for this post, I’m going to look up gentleness in my trusty Thesaurus.) Gentleness is a defined as “intentional mildness.” Some synonyms are: kindness, carefulness, tenderness, caution. Gentleness is also “physical sensitivity, with the synonyms being: fragility, softness, tenderness, delicacy, mildness, pliability, smoothness, sweetness. And finally, “docility” with the following synonyms: meekness, obedience, tameness.
You know what stopped me first? “Intentional” A synonym for intentional is “willful.” To me, for me…I must engage my will to be a gentle person. I can walk it, talk it and think it…but I have to will it to be it. I have to choose gentleness…and I have to keep choosing gentleness.
And then all those great synonyms, I can use them as questions, a mini examen if you will. I am a wife and mother so my questions first center on that vocation. I won’t ask or answer all of them here, but here are a few:
Am I careful when speaking with or responding to my husband and children? Do I choose my tone of voice and my words carefully (sarcastic, harsh, abrupt, hateful)? Am I careful with my body language (sigh or roll my eyes)?
The word pliability flipped a little light switch for me. I really don’t like change. It’s not even that I don’t like plans to be changed, I just pretty much don’t like change in general. Doesn’t sound very pliable does it? And do I have a softness about me? A sweetness? A smoothness?
These are some revealing questions I think.
And then expanding my questions to those around me…the grocery cashier, the receptionist on the phone, the telemarketer, the person counting out their change in front of me in the drive thru…? Is my gentleness evident to them? Would they recognize me as a Christian without ashes on my forehead?
The recent story I’ve briefly come across of 21 Coptic Christians being killed or the stories we read each day of the martyrs …would I be recognized as a Christian, by my gentleness, to the point of death?
This Lent, I will be intentionally choosing gentleness. Not only do I hope the world will recognize me as a Christian by my gentleness, but more importantly, my husband and children.