Gentle is the one who does "not break the crushed reed, or snuff the faltering wick"
~ Matthew 12:20
When I was an early teen, I remember a conversation I had with my grandmother who had just been diagnosed with cancer. I always hoped she would survive, but she was a realist as she spoke to me. As she shared that she would not live to see me grow, "into a man," she told me that she hoped that I would remain a "gentle person."
At the time I did not know how to take what she was telling me. As a young man I was taught that being gentle meant that you were also weak. It became a real struggle at times, and creating the paradigm shift between being seen as "weak," to being perceived as "gentle," became an effort I had to be intentional about. Like having the "faith of a child," I had to find a way to allow for gentleness in my life as well.
Now as a man who has lived more than half of my life, I realize that this gentleness is easier to be lived.
Once in a while we meet a gentle person. Gentleness is a virtue hard to find in a society that admires people with thick skins and tough stands.
We are encouraged to get things done and to get them done fast, even when people get hurt in the process. Success, accomplishment, and productivity count. But the cost is high.
Gentle is the one who is attentive to the strengths and weaknesses of the other and enjoys being together more than accomplishing something.
A gentle person treads lightly, listens carefully, looks tenderly, and touches with reverence. A gentle person knows that true growth requires nurture, not force.
In our tough and often unbending world our gentleness can be a vivid reminder of the presence of God among us.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.