How’s this for a huge promise:
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
So just how much Love and Patience and Peace and Kindness does it take to be a thoroughly gentle person? You will need Self-Control too! Someone once remarked that if you want to know what the character of Jesus looked like - just study the nine aspects of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. He came to make you more like Jesus. Leo Rosten remarked, "I learned that it is the weak who are cruel, and that gentleness is to be expected only from the strong."
A. Gentleness Can Easily Be Misconstrued
Elizabeth George said, "Gentleness is strength under control. It is the ability to stay calm, no matter what happens."
Paul, you are a two-faced man. 1"By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you-- I, Paul, who am timid when face to face with you, but bold toward you when away! I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world."
B. Gentleness Can Easily Be Mismanaged
Paul, why don't you fight like everyone else does?
"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds." Charlotte Bronte wrote in Jane Eyre, "Oh! that gentleness! How far more potent is it than force!"
Williams Shakespeare, in Henry V, said "When gentleness and cruelty compete for a kingdom, the gentler gamester is the soonest winner."
C. Gentleness Can Easily Be Misrepresented
Paul, you are an empty boaster. "7 You are judging by appearance. (a) If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do. 8 So even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than tearing you down, I will not be ashamed of it." "Only the gentlest hands can brush away tears." - John J. Geddes
D. Gentleness Can Easily Be Misunderstood
Paul, you use absence to scare people.
"9 I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you with my letters. 10 For some say, 'His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.' 11 Such people should realize that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present."
Despite all the problems there may be with gentleness, it is still one of the Holy Spirit's greatest tools for changing relationships. Someone wrote, "Don't judge the gentlh; their gentleness is stronger than your fears and angers. Don't judge those who have lost their gentleness; you haven't lived their lives. In all people, hope for the gentleness to return and see gentleness for the beauty that it is."
Plato once said "Treat everyone you meet with kindness because they might be fighting a harder battle than you are."
A Kentucky man told this story:
Leaving a store, I returned to my car only to find that I'd locked my keys and cell phone inside. A teenager riding his bike saw me kick a tire and said a few choice words. "What's wrong?" he asked. I explained my situation. "But even if I could call my wife," I said, "she can't bring me her car key, since this is our only car.." He handed me his cell phone. "Call your wife and tell her I'm coming to get her key."
"That's seven miles round trip." "Don't worry about it."
An hour later, he returned with the key. He refused money. "Let's just say I needed the exercise." Then, like a cowboy in a movie, he rose off into the sunset.
A. Kindness Can Come Out Of Pleasant Relationships
Never underestimate the life-changing value of good friendships. Today's Bible reading was from the life of Israel's King David. Long before David was king, he'd known the love of his best friend, Jonathan, who was the son of Israel's first king - Saul. Note these words:
1 David asked "Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan's sake?". By this time Jonathan was dead. He'd died in battle. But the memory of the sweetness of his friendship inspired David. Let's be the sort of people who leave reasons in others for them to want to be kind. Let the desire to be kind be so strong in you that you find people who will help you do it. But, life isn't always full of loving relationships.....
B. Kindness Can Come Out Of Bitter Experiences
As loyal as Jonathan was to David, so as spiteful was his father, King Saul, toward David. He had plenty of bad memories of King Saul: attempts on his life, hunted as a fugitive, David's wife abducted and given to another. If this happened to you.....Ah, but let the passing of time readjust your focus. Leslie Wagner tells a story:
When the supermarket clerk tallied up my groceries, I was $12 over. I began to remove items from the bas when another shopper handed me a $20 bill. "Please don't put yourself out," I said. "Let me tell you a story," he said. My mother is in the hospital with cancer. I visit her every day and bring her flowers. This morning, she got mad at me for spending my money on more flowers. She demandedI do something else with that money. So here, please accept this It is my mother's flowers."
Back to David. The king asked, "Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God's kindness?" Ziba answered, "There is still a son of Jonathan he is lame in both feet." His nurse had accidentally dropped him and he was unable to walk.
C. Kindness Can Come Out Of Compassion For Brokenness
Develop the art of being kind for its own sake.
I was in a hurry to get to a store. I was almost at the highway exit when two young men next to a vehicle with hazard lights flashing appealed to me to stop. The Holy Spirit bade me help them. I had to back up quite a way to reach them. Then I noticed that they were wearing the kind of clothing I associate with street gangs in Newark Oh well, I was deep into it now! They had a burst tire and no jack. We struggled but got the wheel changed. "What do we owe you?" they asked. Not a thing - it was reward enough to have shown kindness to two guys I might have been nervous to meet on a dark street!
Back to David. "When Mephibosheth, son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor. David said, 'Mephibosheth!.....Don't be afraid, for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan," (Kindness looks beyond the need and sees the person), "for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my talble." Huh, Is it really kindness before it has cost you something personally?
D. Kindness Can Open A New World For Someone
A bit of advise from John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church:
"Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, to all the souls you can, in every place you can, at all the times you can, with all the zeal you can, as long as ever you can."
It takes the fruit of kindness to do THAT much good. "Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul's steward, and said to him, "I have given your master's grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family." That's an example of kindness opening a new world for someone, the fruit of kindness.
Now, it's not good enough to MEAN to be kind. You have to connect with REAL people, in REAL time, at REAL places, with people who have REAL needs. Consider this story from a nursing college:
"During my second year of nursing school our professor gave us a quiz. I breezed through until the last question: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?' I handed in my paper leaving the last question blank. One student asked if the last question would count toward our grades. 'Absolutely,' the professor said. 'In your careers, you will meet may people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello.' I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy."