Practice the Art of Gentleness

Grace is the face that love wears.

Nothing is so strong as true gentleness. Nothing is so gentle as true strength. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Have you ever seen gentleness de-escalate a tense situation? If so, maybe you were the source of that gentleness.

The Bible tells us that a gentle answer can calm a person’s anger (Proverbs 15:1). Gentleness almost always contributes to contentment as well as peace. Throughout His life, Jesus showed us by His example the power of gentleness. See in Matthew 11:29 the way He described Himself:

Accept my teachings and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives. — NCV

And consider His gentleness with a woman caught in adultery. The Pharisees and teachers of the law were ready to stone her in accordance with Jewish law. Then Jesus made this simple statement:

Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her. — John 8:7

When no one did, when each one walked away, Jesus was alone with the woman. To her He said simply,

Go and sin no more. — John 8:11 NLT

Choose gentleness today. Refrain from judging others. Treat the people you encounter the way you would like them to treat you, the gentle way your Good Shepherd treats you.
Psalm 23 is perhaps the most beautiful expression of Jesus’ gentle ways with us:

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters,
He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

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Extend Grace

Grace is the face that love wears when it meets imperfection.  ~ Joseph R. Cooke

The world was a kinder place when people interacted face-to-face. It isn’t easy to say rude things when you’re looking someone in the eyes. Slamming someone over social media or with a flippant text message is much easier — and that is happening far too much. Freedom of speech has lost its filter. Thoughtless, disrespectful, hurtful comments run rampant today in social media, late-night talk shows, and even the news.

How do you deal with rude people? When someone is rude to you, maybe your first reaction is to be rude right back. Rudeness responding to rudeness destroys peace. There are better ways to deal with a person’s lack of courtesy and kindness.

Recognize that someone’s imperfections are just that. If a person makes a disagreeable comment on your social media post, cuts in front of you in the grocery line, or, ignoring you, keeps talking on their cell phone, don’t take it personally. Their behavior is about them, not you. So rather than allowing something to upset you and steal your contentment, practice grace by taking the following steps:

  1. Take a deep breath.
  2. Remember what you’re committed to in your heart.
  3. Lead by example and treat them the way you would like to be treated.
  1. Go one step further and offer authentic listening, an act of kindness, or help with something you learn they are dealing with.
  2. Extending grace to difficult people takes practice, but remembering how many times you have received grace makes extending it to others a little easier. Blessing people with grace — with the grace of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, or patience — can help break the cycle of upset in the world. Become a beacon of grace and peace.

Grace is the face that love wears.

Excerpted with permission from Love the Life You Have by Jean Fischer, copyright Thomas Nelson.

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Your Turn

Social media is an angry place, isn’t it? Starting today, let’s put on the gentleness of the Lord. Let’s be the ones to de-escalate online and off. When something starts to get heated, let’s be the face of the love of Jesus! Come share your thoughts with us. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily

Jean Fischer

Jean Fischer (www.jeanfischer.com) is a professional writer with a solid background in publishing. As a freelance writer, she has co-written books with Christian authors/teachers John MacArthur, John C. Maxwell, Sarah Young, Sheila Walsh, and others. Jean writes text for adult and children's devotionals, fiction and nonfiction, and children's picture and chapter books. She also creates promotional material for a leading fast-food restaurant and is a contributing writer for K-6 Language Arts textbooks. Recent work-for-hire projects include: "The Jesus Calling Bible Storybook" by Sarah Young (Jean Fischer, compilation editor), Thomas Nelson; and "God's Little Angel Shine Your Light" by Sheila Walsh (Jean Fischer, co-author), Thomas Nelson.

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