Sunday, October 30, 2016

Be Gentle & Kind To ALL

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo SundayKindGentle_zpsbmvfefey.jpg

Be Gentle & Kind To ALL

I used to think that "kindness" and "gentleness" were the same thing.  There is a difference:
Gentleness - is meek, humble, mild and calm.  The opposite of gentle is harsh 
Kindness - is compassion, sympathy, thoughtfulness, consideration, helpfulness and charity.   The opposite of kind is cruel.

As we see by both featured verses above - we are to be kind and gentle to all!  Let's study each one in more detail.

"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

Our example for being gentle and kind both come from Jesus.  In this verse in Matthew we see that not only are we to strive to be like Jesus and learn from His gentleness but we will also find rest for ourselves.   

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."  Proverbs 15:1

I struggle with gentleness - There have been  times in my life when unbeknownst to me my words offended someone (I DON'T swear - that's not what I mean).  Without even realizing it I can be very harsh - I'm the firstborn child in my family & with that comes bossiness but I also try to rush through things and in so doing I lose the gentleness that is necessary to live a Christian life. I have been floored when others have confronted me with things that I have said because I never meant them that way (and then I of course apologize) - in my haste the message of what I say is often the opposite of what I mean.  The verse below explains that patience is part of being gentle.

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."  Ephesians 4:2

"Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.  But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted."  Galatians 6:1

I am amazed how many of my Christian friends/family are able to confront someone of their wrongdoing without putting that person on the defensive - it's gentleness.  Confrontation with gentleness can be the difference between repentance and continued sin.

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of that slander."  1 Peter 3:15 & 16

We need to be prepared to respond to everyone with gentleness - strangers, family members, friends and enemies.  I love the last part of the verse above - "with our good behavior and clear conscience" - others will be ashamed when they mock us or gossip about us.  This is a stereotype (a positive stereotype) but I am reminded of the British people - they always seem to respond to anyone in a reserved and polite manner.  They are able to stay calm (without yelling) and respectfully put offenders in their place - that is gentleness.

"And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus."  Ephesians 2:6 & 7
Just as I stated above, our example for being kind and gentle both come from Jesus' example.
"He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward him for what he has done." Proverbs 19:17

"A kindhearted woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth.  A kind man benefits himself, but a cruel man brings himself harm."  Proverbs 11: 16 & 17

How interesting that being kind to someone else actually benefits us personally.  Have you ever volunteered for anything? - maybe at a homeless shelter or at the YMCA?  I have and it really did feel like I had received a healthy, "down-to-the-bone" blessing - it was a soothing feeling that I had received (an outpouring of the Holy Spirit).  Isn't there a saying something like: help yourself by helping others?

"An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up."  Proverbs 12:25

This verse is so relevant today -  with so many people dealing with anxiety and panic disorders.  Just think about words "positive" and "negative"; both having such an extreme affect on the intended.  There have been many times in my  life when my heart has been weighed down with life's struggles and hardships.  Just one encouraging word from a friend can lift me up out of the darkness and get me back on track to thinking of others instead of myself. 

"But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.  Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.  Luke 6:35

There are 2 important points here: 
1. When we are kindhearted we can't expect anything in return - kindness is selfless.  Our motives have to be correct otherwise our so-called "acts of kindness" will come across as very fake.  Kindness has to be sincere.
2. Enemies - be kind to each other & EVERYONE ELSE.  God is kind to everyone, including the "ungrateful and wicked"; our enemies.  There is no getting even here - revenge only hurts both parties involved.  So, we must be kind to both the nice and nasty alike.

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."  Colossians 3:12

Show God's Love to everyone by clothing yourself with kindness & gentleness. 


Linked to:
You're the STAR
Tuesdays with a Twist
Wake Up Wednesday

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