Reflections on Gentleness

Today, while watching people going to and fro, here and there, speeding and flying, pushing and shoving and careening against each other, I chose to slow down long enough to take in as much as I could of the human condition. My conclusion: I understand, but cannot explain.

All the hustle and bustle is about money. The real currency—though—is about how I treat others; being  gentle, having peace, being kind and not dismissive, impatient, or intolerant. I have been the latter more than the former lately. I have allowed my own quest for fame, fortune, and what I perceive as the ‘good life’ drive me to the edge of a cliff. Peer pressure and work responsibilities have forced me to paint myself into an anxious corner and now I find I am unkind to my brothers and sisters.

Life is about sowing and reaping. I recognize the seeds now in my hand as well as the growth process each seed must endure. I am ground. . .dirt. . .on a good day, soil. The first seed was Michael Jackson’s Man In The Mirror; within it is a seed of understanding planted in me. Then followed an unfortunate encounter with a homeless man who, looking for something to eat, occasionally knocks on my door.  I slammed the door on him.

Then I faced the man in the mirror again after an unfortunate encounter with a work colleague.  A seed of understanding is dropped into the hole. I understood just a bit more about whom I truly represent in the world and about who I truly am.

Next: a series of Bible lessons in loving others based on John 13:35. Now the revelation knowledge was seeing beyond the needs of the homeless, the abused and the disenfranchised—seeing broader to the needs of anyone who is in my face. The question was ‘who is my brother?’  The answer is ‘the one who is in need’.

A conversation with a beloved friend over a plate of sushi followed. A conversation with a young man with purpose who mentioned how people were not gentle with each other brought tears to my eyes. He spoke of begin gentle with people—despite how we feel inside, despite our fears, aspirations, needs, anxiety, and questions.

Thus, gentleness was the missing ingredient in the cake of life.

It is the lack of gentleness that causes angry altercations over—of all things—parking spaces or living quarters, drive-by shootings, getting cut off in traffic, short-temperness, rudeness, dismissiveness, intolerance, disrespect, and humiliation.  On and on.

It is the lack of gentleness that has been gnawing at me for a long time, especially the last 3 to 4 years, wanting to make big changes in my life and feeling guilty for wanting change.  I am fertile ground, now for the Lord’s planting.  I tilled the ground with the blade of repentance today as I watched humanity go by. Now my actions and words from this point forward must be born out of gentleness.

Today I found that bitterness is why I don’t have peace; forgiveness restores it; gentleness is the path to peace and forgiveness.


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