I’ve never been described as a gentle person. At least not to my face, and I’m not sure that’s one of the words that comes up behind my back.
Bold. Direct. Bossy. Brave. Maybe even energetic.
But gentle? No.
We are in the process of memorizing a weekly verse together. Actually it’s a paragraph I’m breaking into verses because my brain likes bite-sized assignments. Last week we began with this:
When I sat down with this week’s verse, I realized God has a sense of humor. Here it is: “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” (Philippians 4:5 NIV)
So maybe that’s not funny to you, but to me, who is trying to see how these verses relate to everyday life and then put those thoughts into words for others to read, this is hysterical.
“Let your gentleness…” Um, God, are you forgetting that I don’t have a gentle side or are you telling me I just don’t use it enough?
Sometimes when I get stuck on the meaning of something in the Bible, I’ll work through it using other translations.
I turned to the English Standard Version which told me this: “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;”
Yeah. Reasonableness is another one of those words that seldom gets used around me.
The King James edition puts it this way: “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.”
That one made me chuckle. I’m more of a “if one is good then two are better” sort of person.
Gentleness, reasonableness, moderation. God, how can I possibly find a life application for this verse when I’m wired so differently from these words?
That’s when I opened up the Message translation.
“Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!” (Philippians 4:5 MSG)
Ahhhh… “Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side.”
You know what that means to me? Be kind.
We can love the people around us just as we are, and in the process, they will see the hands and feet of God.
That disgruntled employee who would rather be enjoying the sunlight instead of the hard floors and florescent bulbs? We can shine the light of God on them with just a smile.
So let’s go back to the original verse we are memorizing this week.
Maybe you’re like me and gentleness still needs some time to blossom in your life. That’s okay. The world needs your particular brand of love. Your unique voice may be the only voice that someone else relates to.
You may be the only Bible they ever read and they will read it through your actions.
Bold, direct, bossy, brave or gentle, reasonable and full of moderation. Go be you. Go be kind. Let them see that God is closer than they know.