A Blog by Jennifer Aulthouse


A heart for those who want more of God. A desperate plea for those who don't.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Gentleness

It’s much harder to ponder gentleness as a fruit than it is a personality trait. If we think of someone as being gentle, what we are saying is that they have a lightness of touch in the way they handle people and things; that is, there’s a slowness, an evidence of care directed towards the item or person that is being reached for, as if to suggest a sensitivity to the reached for’s sense of comfort. Gentleness is an agent of beckoning; it’s about creating an environment where one can unpack what is hindering him or her.

But it’s harder to reconcile gentleness as a fruit – that is, something constant in the life of a Spirit-filled person. Though there are many instances of Jesus approaching people in the calmest of manners, there’s also Jesus knocking over tables in the temple out of anger, calling people “broods of vipers”, and sharply rebuking His disciples…..and we wouldn’t define this sort of thing at all as gentleness. So maybe we should rethink what it means.

Perhaps gentleness has to do as much with internal intent as it does with external response. Perhaps gentleness, instead of just being an agent of beckoning, is the perfect merger of purification and invitation. The act of being externally gentle is to create an inviting relational atmosphere towards the other…...he knows that he is safe here; she knows that she is welcomed. Sometimes that’s all we need in a moment of despair or desperation, and sometimes it’s even enough to bring us to repentance, if we’ve already recognized our sins and know we need to repent and turn from them.

But that isn’t always enough, even though we wish it would be. Sometimes we need to have our tables knocked over in order to grow in holiness. Sometimes we need to hear the abrupt truth in a manner that startles us out of complacency.

What makes this gentle, though, is the unending lengths He takes to let us know beforehand how loved we are; how adored we are; how precious we are; how welcomed and embraced we are. Gentleness always reveals an intention, and His intention for us is always His best. It is the responsibility of the loved, however, to listen and believe.

Indeed, the fruit of His gentleness in me is the persistent calling inside to be used to invite and purify by showing the way to salvation, rooted in an even deeper calling to express His message of love and adoration. I cannot do that without first hearing and heeding to the gentleness He extends to me.

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