Lately I have been feeling the Lord place on my heart a call to gentleness.
“The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, forbearing, correcting his opponents with gentleness” (2 Timothy 2:24-25, RSV)
I’m reminded of this calling every now and again when I receive a somewhat disagreeable comment on a past blog post.
Praise God for making me just busy enough that I usually cannot reply to comments in the moment or moments immediately after first reading them. Admittedly (and maybe not so surprisingly), my initial reaction to argumentative comments is to be argumentative right back—seeking to craft the wittiest response that explains oh so clearly and succinctly why I’m in the right. These responses may not be outright rude, but they certainly fall short of aspiring to the kind of gentleness that the Holy Spirit, writing through Paul in his letter to Timothy, calls me to in the above verse.
Thankfully when it comes to crafting a response, I usually have the time to take a deep breath, examine my motives, and finally ask God, “What would you have me say in reply to this?” (<— that should be my FIRST thought!)
What I have learned is that God more often than not calls me to be even gentler than my first, sometimes even second or third, “draft” of gentleness. I’m discovering that God really wants gentleness and charity to be what guide my discussions with others—especially when those discussions are about Him.
It’s not about proving that I am in the right; it’s about leading others to Christ because I want them to understand and share in the love that He has given me for Him and His Church. This doesn’t mean that I can’t defend my God or His Church or even myself when attacked; it just means I have to check myself to assure that my responses are motivated from love and not from pride.
It’s a work in progress 🙂