By Kelly Carr
Gentleness is something I think of to describe the feel of a soft breeze or the sound of a trickling stream or the cuddliness of a tiny kitten. But when a person exhibits gentleness, it doesn’t stop me in my tracks—in fact I’m sure I often overlook it.
Especially in our culture where people are told to speak your mind, be aggressive to get ahead, and don’t let anyone back you down, gentleness is a lost virtue. Yet clearly it is a biblical value and an aspect of how the Spirit manifests himself in our lives when we follow his guide.
Think of the times you’ve appreciated a gentle approach. The disappointment you were experiencing and someone gently offered a comforting word. The situation that made you so angry you thought you’d explode, and someone gently calmed you down. The big mistake you made but didn’t see and someone gently pointed out your error.
I love the story of Elijah. He’d had a mountaintop experience showing up the prophets of Baal and then he fled the area in fear of Jezebel. He cried out to the Lord that he’d had enough and wanted to die. What was God’s response? He told Elijah to stand at the mouth of the cave because he was about to pass by.
A great wind, an earthquake, and a fire ensued. But the Lord was not in those things. “And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave”
(1 Kings 19:12, 13).
I am thankful that the same God who has the power to create explosive wonder is also willing to reach out to our fears, hurt, and insecurities with a gentle whisper. Let’s follow the Lord’s lead. Yes, there are times to stand up and shout, but let’s also be on the lookout for moments when a gentle approach is needed.