While pondering the word – gentleness– my mind goes back to Nickel Mines, PA.
The shooting of 10 peaceful Amish girls, killing 5, brought such horror and shock. More shocking and amazing was the quiet gentleness of forgiveness that was shown at a time of deep sorrow and pain. Defined by their gentle strength, the grieving Amish fathers visited the wife of the killer. They gently cared about her pain and expressed forgiveness towards her deceased husband. Grief-torn themselves yet they were gentle towards the pain of others.
That gentle strength continues even today. Teri Roberts, the mother of the killer, makes weekly visits to care for one of the victims, Rosanna – paralyzed, unable to walk, talk or eat. She bathes Rosanna, gently caring for her lifeless body, cleaning her bedclothes, brushing her hair, singing songs and reading Bible stories. Her strength is in her gentleness despite her own pain and grief.
There is a certain power in gentleness. A strength that is seldom seen in this world filled with violence, hatred, harshness and sternness. And the world wonders where that strength comes from.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest.” Matthew 11:28, 29
As I go to Jesus, he has the strength to take my burdens and pains, the power to lead me and to make me gentle and humble. The result is peace and rest. As I trust in Him, He produces the gentleness in my life.
Am I gentle in my words and actions towards others in my life? Is there some situation where I need to show gentleness instead of abrasiveness or harshness? I want to learn from Jesus who is the epitome of gentleness.
“Both gentleness and meekness are born of power, not weakness… We should never be afraid, therefore, that the gentleness of the Spirit means weakness of character. It takes strength, God’s strength, to be truly gentle.”
Jerry Bridges – The Practice of Godliness