Gentleness is powerful too: An Easter reflection.

wax flowersSometimes we associate power with aggression, flashing lights, loud voices, steely gazes. Powerful people seem to have persuasion, charisma, confidence. I don’t have any of those things. Frankly some days I don’t feel like I have much of anything in comparison.

Not a lot is made of Gentleness. In fact sometimes it’s seen as a weakness. Sometimes in a workplace it seems those who are aggressive get the promotion. In the community, those who are violent and aggressive seem to get away with crime. In a school those who are loudest get noticed. In relationships, those who are confident and aggressive get the guy/girl. In churches, those who are talented, charismatic, confident, educated, quasi-perfect get all their prayers answered, the good opportunities to serve, the support when they are unwell etc etc.

We have it so backwards. We think aggression is power.

The bible places great emphasis on Gentleness (you don’t see aggression listed as a fruit of the spirit!). In fact Gentleness is repeated several times. Repetition always means it is important.

Psalm 18:35

English Standard Version (ESV)

35 You have given me the shield of your salvation,
and your right hand supported me,
and your gentleness made me great.

2 Samuel 22:36

English Standard Version (ESV)

36 You have given me the shield of your salvation,
and your gentleness made me great.

Notice that going into Battle, the thing that made you great, was gentleness, not how many battles you had won, or how many people you had slaughtered. It was gentleness that gave you greatness. Even in the Old Testament, gentleness is revered.

At Easter time, much is made of power. The power of Christ when he rose again. The power of God as He hung there on that tree. All of it is a reflection of His Power.

But I was really struck by Jesus’ gentleness. He wasn’t a pushover. He didn’t end up on the cross because he was too afraid to speak up. He didn’t end up on the cross because he demanded his own way. He didn’t sit around complaining it was unfair. He didn’t allow himself to be a doormat. He went to the cross knowing what it would fulfill. He went to the cross understanding that His father was in control. He went to the cross in love, humbly bowing before God in obedience to His will. He could have made it stop. He could have challenged God, the guards, the authorities. But he didn’t. In fact for an often outspoken person like myself I find myself shaking my head. “Why didn’t you do something to show them who you were? All the power in the universe is yours but you didn’t use it! What were you thinking?”

He was thinking of me. He was thinking of you. He was thinking of His father.

I will probably never die on a cross the way he did. I won’t achieve things that will change humanity the way His death changed us. but I am called to serve. In the small moments of life, when I’m not doing anything outstanding that will be recorded in history books- like doing the dishes- I can be humble. I can have gentleness. I can allow that gentleness to fill my heart, to help me respond to challenges (and people!) with grace, rather than aggression.

What about you? Will you humble yourself and allow gentleness to infuse your life, rather than aggression?

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