March Devotional: Goodness/Gentleness
By: Leah Smith
Goodness and gentleness are, unfortunately, often seen as weaknesses. Or, in another way, those who display goodness and gentleness are often seen as being weak, not as strong, a pushover, etc. But I beg to differ. Following I give 5 reasons why these signs of integrity, tenderness, and virtue are actually signs of strength of character, and the calling we have as Christians.
1. Gentleness diffuses tension (Proverbs 15:1)
Proverbs 15:1 says that “a gentle answer turns away wrath.” Think of a time when someone made you super upset. Maybe they did something that hurt your feelings, or they did something that caused you to get angry. In that moment we have a choice to make. We can lash out and yell, say hurtful words, angry words, etc., OR, we can take a deep breath, a step back, and then answer with gentleness. When not in the middle of the situation, it’s easy to say which would be best, but which one do we most often do? This verse from Proverbs says that if we will choose the route of gentleness, we can actually diffuse the situation and keep it from escalating into more. Our gentleness diffuses tension. That’s powerful!
2. Gentleness is encouraging and strengthening to others (Proverbs 15:4)
“Gentle words are a tree of life,” a way to strengthen and uplift others when they are down. Proverbs 15:4 tells us that our gentle answers can actually give life to other people. We can encourage and strengthen them with the words we speak, or, we can tear them down and discourage them with negative and harsh words. Which would you rather receive? Which would be best to give? Our words have the power to give or take away life.
3. Gentleness is a way to show forgiveness and patience (Ephesians 4:2)
Have you been forgiven before? Have you done something to hurt someone, felt terrible afterwards, and the person told you it was OK and they forgave you? Ephesians 4:2 says, through gentleness and love, we should make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive each other when we do wrong. We are called as followers of Jesus to be forgivers, but is this an easy thing to do? Not usually! It takes great strength of character to forgive someone when they have wronged us, but that is the gentle answer called for.
4. Goodness follows Jesus’ example set for us to love others (John 13:34)
We are called to love others like Jesus did. Goodness is that love in action. Goodness is treating others with the respect, love, and action they deserve, not because of anything they have done to earn it, but simply because they are alive. In John 13, Jesus says we are to love others as He does. We are to follow the example of his life, watching how he loved others and then replicating that. I had a T-shirt once that said “love is a verb” on it. The goodness we emulate is the verb part of that love. That kind of love is not easy to give, but it is what we are called to, and it is a powerful way that goodness is used to follow Jesus.
5. Showing Goodness to those who hate you (Luke 6:27-33)
One of the most difficult calls we have as Jesus followers, is to love everyone, even those who hate us. And not just to “love” them, but to treat them with kindness, respect, and to do good to them. Luke 6 talks about this, as Jesus explains that treating only those who are kind to us in this manner is easy, and something most everyone does. But to treat those who hate us with love, kindness, and goodness, to give to those who take from us, this is something new and extremely difficult to do. And yet, this is what we are called to. As followers of Christ we are called to extend goodness and mercy to everyone, not just fellow believers of Christ. That is a beautiful and powerful way to live my friends!
Join me this month in extending gentleness and goodness to every person around us, loving them and Jesus loves them!