“Dear Lord, Please teach us to be gentle. Remind us of the many ways you have shown gentleness to us. When we respond to others, help us see how you love them and died for them, also. Convict us when we descend into mockery or hurtful speech. Show us how to stand for what is right without abandoning gentleness and respect. Teach us to speak the truth in love. Let our gentleness be evident, a clear sign that You are at work in our lives. Amen (heathercking.org).
“Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord Is near.” Philippians 4:5
I’m quite the word guru, so before we dive into living out gentleness as a virtue, let’s get an actual definition.
Gentleness(google) In other words, gentleness is doing everything with the utmost love and patience.
Yikes, as I reflect on that definition, I am brought back to countless memories of last year where I failed to live out gentleness in my role as a leader on my missionary team. Okay, story time. On Sundays, we split up into two groups to go to mass. One group would go to mass, and the other would join after mass to help mingle with the parishioners.
My group was attending mass, and as we walked out, the other group was nowhere to be seen. My insides began to burn, and the anger was rising. How could they just not come to help us mingle?
They KNOW that they are supposed to be here. So, of course, I marched over to the
parish center where they were, and demanded, Is there a reason why you didn’t come to mingle?They looked horrified and felt terribly guilty, and the idea of being gentle was completely out of sight and out of mind. In that moment, I did not choose love. I did not choose mercy. I did not choose patience. I chose anger. I chose myself.
Here’s what I didn’t know. They were busy at work on big projects that needed to be done, and they lost track of time. It was an easy mistake that anyone could have made. So, what did I learn from this? The issue began when I let the anger build and went to deal with the situation right away. I should have taken a step back and assumed the best. I should have taken a cue from Jesus, and the way that He constantly approaches us in the sacrament of confession, by meeting us with his merciful love and gentleness.
So, what are some practical steps to practice gentleness?
- Be aware of your emotions.
- Take a step back
- Assume the best of the situation.
- Approach it with the same gentleness that Jesus approaches you.
In Christ, Alyssa Schimmoeller