Today’s character quality, gentleness, greatly runs the risk of being discarded during the busy holiday season. Over-filled schedules, late night celebrations, and routines run amok can turn our gentle responses into growling commands.
For some people, gentleness just seems to be second nature. Their first response in any and every situation is a soft voice and winsome words. For others, however, gentleness is a constant battle with too many defeats.
Is it possible to learn gentleness? Or, are we less gentle people just doomed to repeat our ungentle responses over and over? I absolutely think that gentleness can be learned, although it will take time, effort, and a commitment to discarding our old habits.
Allow me to share a story with you.
When I was a college student, I worked with high school girls. One girl in particular was my special friend and a much beloved member of the school. She was funny, athletic, and bright. But, she was also loud, opinionated, and outspoken. Although everyone loved her, her abrasiveness often caused friction.
After graduation, I didn’t see my friend for five years. When we were reunited, I was amazed at the change in her demeanor. She spoke softly and she carefully considered her words before speaking. She was intent on listening well and encouraging others when she spoke. She was like a new girl!
I asked what had happened to cause the change in her life and this is what she said. “I just realized that how I spoke kept people on edge around me. I wanted them to know I loved and cared for them, but my tone and words didn’t convey that truth. Every day I remind myself that I CAN be gentle and the more often I am gentle, the easier it becomes to remain that way.”
Trust me, if she could change… So can we! Developing a character of gentleness will make you a safe friend and trusted companion. Gentle children will provide security for their less secure friends.
You have an advocate in your struggle to embrace gentleness. The Holy Spirit will guide you and remind you when you disregard gentleness, and the Lord longs to see you exhibit gentleness in the same way He exhibits gentleness.
If God is for us, who can be against us?
What will it take to turn your growling into gentleness? Spend time developing gentle character now, and you’ll be prepared when the holidays squeeze you.