Friday, July 27, 2007

Thoughts on Gentleness

God has really been working on me lately in the area of gentleness. I find this in some ways ironic, because the following passage has long been a favorite of mine, representing some of my biggest goals...

I Peter 3.1-4
In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be merely external--braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.

A couple of weeks ago at church, I Peter 2.4 jumped out at me. Referring to Jesus, it describes Him as "a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God."

I was overwhelmed by the thought that the same expression is used of Christ as is used of the "spirit" that God desires of me. To have a gentle and quiet spirit (true beauty!) is precious in the sight of God. As Christ, our living stone, is precious in the sight of God. That wows me.

And then...

I'm reading Joyce Landorf's Richest Lady in Town right now. It's an older book that I've had for years and never read. If my family knew what I've been missing...

Landorf talks in one chapter about the whole gentleness issue, stating that she was not naturally a gentle person, and that for years she refused to even adopt gentleness as a goal. Then one day, she saw a young mother completely lose it with her children in the store. As the mother ranted and raved, and employees and patrons alike tried to clean up the rack of items the little boy had knocked over, Landorf watched him sneak his blue blanket out of his mother's bag. In the midst of the chaos and the yelling, this little boy found refuge and gentleness in his blanket. Landorf realized how sad it was that the mother was not the one to give her son gentleness. Somehow, that experience was so impactful that she begin to actively pursue gentleness. And do you know what?? That especially included gentleness with her children.

And that's when she went to meddling.

I've long pursued a gentle and quiet spirit. Folks around me have even given me feedback indicating that the Lord's making good progress with me in this area. But do you know what? They don't see me behind closed doors when my beloved Blessings have me ready to pull out my hair. And they don't see me when I fail to forgive my husband and let bitterness grow until it explodes.

I have such a long way to go.

The wonderful and encouraging thing is that I have a faithful God who is constantly working to conform me to the image of His beloved (precious!) Son. He has started a work in me, and He won't stop until He completes it.

"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." ~ Jesus~ Matthew 11.29


Eryn said...

just what i needed today. thoughts on gentleness...
after yelling at ella for something that was probably just as much my fault as hers, she asked me if i was done being mean. cringe! and then at dinner, patrick prayed i wouldnt have another mean day and i would feel better tomorrow. out of the mouth of babes.

Laurel said...

Oh wow, do I relate. And when you hear them speak to each other in a nasty voice... then you realize that they're using *your* voice. I'm so thankful for the Lord's graciousness to me, and I'm praying that I will show that same grace to my children.