On Being Gentle

Whenever I teach a yoga class, I preface almost every change in position with the words, “Now please gently…”

One time a student called out, “Why do you always say gently?”

Good question.

Gentleness is not something most Americans know much about. Our approach to life is marked by force, attitude, determination, control, tenacity, a ‘git-r-done’ mentality. While none of that is wrong in and of itself, they most often militate against any “gentleness consciousness.”

We speed down the road in a hurry to get to our next task. We jockey for the best parking space at the store. We set things down with a bang/clang. We consume our meal as if it is the “Passover” and we need to be ready to flee. Even the way we tread upon the earth lacks gentleness.  Rice Paper Walk

When we are trying to persuade another of the rightness of our opinion, we raise our voice, intensify our language or tone–not gentle.

The Buddhist practice of “ahimsa” keeps gentleness in the forefront of the practitioner’s consciousness so that all they do is wrapped with gentleness.

What do Christians have in the way of a gentle practice? “A bruised reed he will not break, nor a smoldering flax will he not put out.” (Matt. 12:20) (When was the last time you heard a sermon from that verse?)

We often see the phrase referring to the “gentle Savior,” but we rarely find a gentle disciple. Yet Jesus said, “It is enough that the disciple be as his master.” (Matt. 10:25)

Gentleness should mark the life of one who considers himself spiritual. Gentleness should be the characteristic of all that we do in thought, word, and deed.

Why is gentleness in such short supply?

In what way could you practice being gentle today?

 

 

 

The Spirit-led life vs. natural man continued

Col 3:1-15

3 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. 6 Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. 7 You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. 8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. 9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. 11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. (author’s emphasis added)
Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

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      Do not be enslaved to natural man’s emotions, thoughts, and actions.  Be set free to the life led by the Spirit, His Spirit leading our spirit, ever in tune with Him.

Setting our minds above, not below, raises us “above the land of earthly disputes and focus(es) us on our Father,” knowing how to live peacefully with one another, knowing we can live eternally with Him.

Not filled with”anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language,” all these tear down.   But clothed in “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience,”–these build up.

When the logs of discord, be they from memory or present, come by you in the sream of life, let them pass.  Recognize them, the feelings, the events, the words, the actions, but let them pass on by. Don’t stop them, pull them up on the bank, build a house of pain and disruption with them, then live in it.  It becomes a prison of your own making.  Christ set the captive free.  Let the logs go by and reach that place where you can “forgive as the Lord forgave you.” 

Then you can act in the victorious lifestyle of “over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Therefore, you can express compassion toward those who have brought you harm, treat them with kindness, remain humble in the Lord for he raises you above the hurt, be gentle in response to harshness, and have patience as you see the Lord work out His will in you and others.