Growing up, I always thought being gentle meant being weak. I had an older brother, and all I wanted to do was be like him. If he was tough and strong, I wanted to be tough and strong. I enjoyed playing flag football and riding my scooter more than doing things I considered “girly” and gentle.
I didn’t realize at the time that gentleness wasn’t synonymous with being frilly, conforming to a certain set of standards, or abiding by some limiting law to act like a princess.
It took years for me to realize being gentle was the greatest sign of a strong individual. For men and women.
One of my favorite examples of gentleness in the Bible is when God appears to Elijah on the mountain (1 Kings 19:11-18). God sent an earthquake and a fire, but His presence was in neither of those things. Instead, God came in the form of “a gentle blowing”.
Or, how in Isaiah 53:7 Jesus is said to be “like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.”
The Almighty God, the Messiah, the Great I AM, the Creator who harnesses all the winds and the waves and holds the earth in the palm of His hand, is the same Lord who chose to manifest Himself at times in gentleness. He has all authority and dominion, and yet He sacrificed Jesus Christ so that we might have atonement for our sins. Jesus went willingly and sinlessly to the cross so that we might be restored unto the Father.
When Jesus left the earth and ascended to the right hand of God, He sent the Holy Spirit, our Helper (John 14:26).
Sometimes we associate leadership with the people who are loud and speak above everyone else. But being a leader isn’t actually about asserting yourself over everyone and being critical. Strength, power, and might are in the hands of those who are humble enough to see hope and have faith in the deserts and the streams, for those who can control their tongue and know acting wisely is more important than “winning”.
Proverbs 15:1 reads, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Heather Lindsey did a vlog where she discussed the importance of self-control as followers of Christ. Anybody can “pop-off at the mouth”, but it takes a truly strong person to answer peace where there is protest. A king or boss can assert their power through arrogance and cruelness, but this will only result in creating an environment of resentment or fear. The same goes for marriage, or friendship.
True strength is rooted in a confidence of who you are in Christ. You won’t have to throw people under the bus or treat others as inferior for God to raise you up.
Allow the gentleness of His Spirit to guide us as we navigate through life. When we are tempted to act in the heat of the moment, I pray we remember the consequences of selfish behavior. Wounding others isn’t equivalent with winning, and strength isn’t in sabotage. Influence and character are built on the foundation of an assurance of who Christ is and who you are in Him.