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As I continue with the fruit of the Spirit…this month is gentleness. Have you picked up on it yet? Every single blog for the past few months has been on relationships. And gentleness is especially important when interacting with people who are offensive and mean spirited. They could be pushy and push us away because of the emotional pain that they are trying to hide. Often, they will push us away or reject our good intentions because they have trust issues and are just afraid of being hurt all over again.

In the times that we are living in, the norm is to say anything you “feel”. It does not encourage us to consider the person on the receiving end of our barrage. The norm is that we may express our opinions, make our point and get them sorted out because they are wrong, and we are right…but is it okay? The truth is that even if we may be right in what we are saying, the timing and the method may be totally wrong. We are living in very hostile times, and it will take a lot of strength and discipline to be and to do things differently!

Real talk…sometimes I just want to cuss out some folks. It is those times that I am so aware of the presence of a power within me that helps me not to do it. I must stop and remind myself of who I am and who I represent. Yes, sometimes I want to scream and even make threats. I remember one day I called a friend to just vent. I told her I was so angry that I could cuss! And she, in her caring way, said, “Go ahead, I ain’t going to tell nobody!” I must have laughed for about ten minutes. It squashed my anger. And no, I didn’t cuss.

Gentleness is not weakness. To be gentle means not being quick to get angry or easily irritated. It does not mean that we don’t get angry. Anger is a genuine emotion, but it is what we do when we get angry. Recently, I suffered a medical emergency and one morning a team of interns came to speak with me concerning what needed to be done. I was sick, tired, and irritated. So, I let the lead guy have it. After they left, I felt worse. Well, the next morning he was there again. This time I had to apologize for my unbecoming behavior the day before. Some may think right now as you read this that I had an excuse, that I should not have been so hard on myself. That same presence of the power on the inside of me who is there to help me…was again helping me to make it right. The other interns present were shocked! I could only guess that they were not used to people owning up to what they had done wrong and apologizing for it. My life doesn’t belong to me, and it reminded me of that.

Think about this: how do you respond when people criticize you or correct you? How do you respond when people disappoint you or let you down? To sum this all up: gentleness is treating people the same way that we would want to be treated. It is having the courage and strength to know when to be quiet and when to speak up. Gentleness is being respectful towards others. It is taking a few moments to put yourself in their shoes. I am convinced that gentleness is not weakness…when cultivated in us, we will maintain peace within, and I sure could use peace within. What about you?

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