Several years ago, my husband and I rented a pontoon boat with my parents to just go out and tootle around a lake for a few hours. Shortly after taking the boat out we had some problems with the motor and was quickly dead in the water. My dad is actually really good with motors but he didn’t have any tools. This was before mobile phones so we just had to wait until someone came by that could help or could send help. Thankfully it wasn’t too long before we had a couple of men showed up from the place where we had rented the boat. They came on board and started checking the motor out. After several minutes of them looking and trying a couple of things with no success, my mom spoke up. She told the men, my dad could probably fix it if they would just ask him what’s wrong. My dad is very humble, and immediately started down playing his knowledge being any greater than theirs and encouraged all of us that these fine men were probably very close to getting us up and running again. So, the men just kept working. When the guys had been at work for close to 45 minutes with no success, my mom spoke up but this time directed her comments to my dad. She said “Jim, I know you figured out a long time ago what the problem is, please just tell these men or fix it yourself so we can all get on with our day!” The men again looked at my dad. My dad, still being very humble and respectful to the men, said “well I am not sure, but if I was going to try something, here’s what I’d would probably try first.” Within minutes the motor was going again.
Over the last few weeks we have been talking about the fruits of the spirit. This week I wanted to talk about gentleness. Once again, I looked in the dictionary for the definition.
Gentleness (gentle): kindly; amiable, not severe, rough or violent; mild; easily handled or managed. In a recent study, I did on the book of Philippians here is how they describe it: Gentleness, the character trait implies a humble, patient, steadfast attitude, able and willing to submit to injustice, disgrace, mistreatment, and provocation without responding in kind (1 Peter 2:18-23). It is characterized by a loftiness of spirit enabling one to bear trouble calmly, to disdain meanness and revenge and to make sacrifices for worthy ends.
One evening we had a girl’s night at my house. It was getting late and it was down to just 3 of us ladies. There was Dee who was very out spoken and said everything with an extreme amount of confidence. The other lady still there, Kate was fairly out spoken as well, but also had a gentler side. Dee had mentioned more than once that she read her bible cover to cover every year. Kate, had never gone to church to speak of and hadn’t read any bible. This particular evening, Kate asked a question about wanting to know if the bible said anything about a particular issue. I knew immediately I could think of at least three places the bible talked about that particular thing. Before I could open my mouth Dee boldly and confidently assured Kate, that wasn’t anywhere in the bible. My mind started racing! I was so excited Kate was asking questions about anything in the bible, yet if I go up against Dee this could turn ugly quick! I thought even though Dee had given Kate a clearly wrong answer, if I argued with Dee that could do more damage than Kate having the wrong answer. I decided to keep my mouth shut and pray! I prayed either I or someone else would get the opportunity to share the truth with Kate. Within a couple of weeks, I got my opportunity to talk one on one with Kate. When she asked me that questions again, I didn’t tell her what I thought it said, I showed her in the scriptures. It started a journey of her reading and digging into God’s Word on her own.
Too often people that are humble in their responses or slow to speak up for themselves, are looked upon as though they are weak. We have gotten so use to other people forcing their opinions on us and demanding their rights! Christ is our example and he chose to lay down His rights in many cases to serve others. He made the religious people crazy!
I am blessed that I have been able to watch my dad many times over the years, demonstrate what being humble, patience and gentle looks like in many different types of situations.
Philippians 4:5 (Paul writes) Let your gentleness be evident to all.
If your spouse, co-workers or your kids were asked, how are you doing in the area of gentleness… (read the whole definition again) how would they say you are doing?