Whit’s End: Gentleness


Well, with my first child being born this past Wednesday, this post will be short.  I just wanted to be sure I covered this past Sunday’s message.

As we looked at the virtue of “Gentleness,” it was clear through the life & ministry of Jesus, the scriptural testimony, and general  Christian experience that gentleness is a core characteristic of the Christian life and journey.  The Greek root word for “gentleness” is the same as that for “meekness” and “humility.”  These words summarize the stories of Jesus and his interactions with people.

Gentleness has much to do with our interactions with people.  But our interactions with people are completely dependent upon our attitude and the posture of our hearts.  Therefore, gentleness is something that comes from the very core of who we are.  If we look at Matthew 25.31 and following, we read of the final judgment, where the righteous are separated from the wicked based off their interactions with others.  “What you did to the least of these, you did to me,” we find Jesus saying.  What we do is an outpouring of who we are, and who we are is either a child of God or a child of the world.  People know the difference and they can see our gentleness or the lack of.  If we’re not careful, we could re-present Jesus as something that he was not—someone who lacked care, concern, respect, and reverence.  See 1 Peter 3.15–16, a stern reminder to give account for our hope but to do so with gentleness and reverence.

To make my point, I told the story of my experience in the hospital with 2 pediatricians.  After Laney was born, a doctor came in to give her a check-up.  He was rough, picking her up by the arms and turning her around and around.  He moved her arms and legs rapidly, looking for movement and mobility.  I couldn’t help but think, “Hey Bub, take it easy!”  He poked and prodded, being sure things were in order.  I’m glad she checked out ok and I’m glad he did his job, but “Come on!”

The second doctor came in the following morning.  As he came in, he walked over to Laney’s bed and stood at the foot.  He peered in and smiled.  “She’s beautiful,” he said, ending a pleasant glance with a nod toward her mom and dad.  He took her tiny hand and slowly moved it to the side, checking her tummy and her sides.  He moved her legs back and forth, slowly, being sure that there was mobility but that she was comfortable.  He picked her up, gently, and made sure that everything was in order.  He was gentle, being sure that he did his job but that she was comfortable.  He respected her, even though she was a baby, he respected her.  It takes humility not to lord your gifts and your abilities over others.

Let’s just say we scheduled an appointment with him immediately for her first appointment.  Live your Christian life in such a way that others will want to schedule an appointment with you, or better yet, with Christ himself.  Show Jesus to those around you through gentleness and the humility of Christ.

Rev. Whit R. Martin
Pastor, New Liberty United Methodist Church

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