Sunday, July 03, 2011

convo with Pastor - Matthew 11:29 - Gentleness

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, GENTLENESS, and self-control.
Galatians 5:22-23 
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me;
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 11:29
In Matthew 11:28, Jesus invited us to come to him when we're weary and carrying heavy burdens. Why should we approach him to find rest for our souls? He answers that in the next verse: Because he is gentle and humble in heart.
Let me simplify that: Why should we approach Jesus with our burdens? Because he's gentle.
What is gentle? I often define words with a picture in mind ... 
  • With a mother and a baby in mind, I'd describe gentleness as loving, caring, and lullabies. 
  • Picturing a hospice nurse, gentleness describes the soft touch of a compassionate hand.
  • Looking at summer field, gentleness is wind that ripples the grass and brings relief to humid day.
  • Looking at another part of the field, gentleness is the opposite of the bull in the corner. Indeed, gentleness is the opposite of angry and snorting and opinionated.
  • Gentle is also like my dog Lucy. When Mary Louise added chickens to our back yard, our retriever understood that these fuzzy creatures were new members of our family. She allowed them to crawl on her back and peck at her fur. 
How loving and caring is your touch? Or are you more like the obstinate bull?
The truth is that all of us have a bit of bull and bruiser in us. That's why Paul reminds us that gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit.
When we yield ourselves to the spirit's leading we begin to let go of anger and ego and look more and more like our gentle Savior. And in so doing, we begin to transform our world around us with gentle grace.
In Christ's Love,
a clumsy bull who wants to look
more like my gentle retriever
(if Pastor is a clumsy bull then I am a rabid creature ... he is one of the gentlest people I know!)

With others outside of my family, I can be gentle. Especially with my patients at work.
However, with my family and myself especially - I am often angry, stubborn, cynical, bitter. When I am reading the bible, praying, trying to focus more on God and his way - I find myself being more patient and gentle with my kids. And myself. When that happens, sleep is better as well. And my mood. and my overall outlook.

Hmmm ... maybe there is something to prayer, study and focus.

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Speak gently. carefully. thoughtfully. graciously. humbly.

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