I fold my fairly drawn from a baseball hat piece of paper back up and place it in my Bible. My husband’s newly instituted family devotion time is already proving its potential to keep me honest about my own failures. Not only that, but I’ve got a five-year old who, if I didn’t know better, could most definitely pass as the Holy Spirit incarnate.
Without reservation, every time Mommy begins to lose her patience, her temper, or even so much as her tender tone, Miss Maylee rearranges her five-year old face indignantly and asks, “Mommy, are you forgetting your gentleness?!”
“Yes. And your sisters are forgetting their love and kindness towards each other.”
Little wonder why Daddy drew patience. Even the Lord must lie lenient on a businessman picked to preside over a five female filled household.
We were doing a lesson on what the Bible terms “the fruit of the Spirit.” These nine character traits are tangible evidence of God the Holy Spirit working in and out of the lives of believers.
Daddy drew patience; Mia, self-control; Addie, love; Maylee, kindness; Mom, peace; me, gentleness.
Ah, gentleness, how you elude me. I’ll be the first to admit that this has certainly never been my strong suit. If it were literal fruit I’m sure my gentleness might resemble more of a raisin than a grape. For a first-class faulting finding, fact feeding, wanna-be fighter, the closest I ever come to gentleness is just being quiet. If you don’t have anything nice to say…right. But what is gentleness, really?
One definition describes gentleness as, “The value and quality of one’s character. The quality of gentleness is colloquially understood to be that of kindness, consideration, and amiability. Aristotle used it in a technical sense as the virtue that strikes the man with regard to anger: being too quick to anger is a vice, but so is being detached in a situation where anger is appropriate. Justified and properly focused anger is named mildness or gentleness.” ~Jan Garrett
I’m an extremist. Too quick to anger or too quiet where proper anger is appropriate. Yep. Sounds about right. That’s Lori in a nutshell.
I had the pleasure of attending the Fayette County Fair with my husband, along with Little Miss Holy Spirit, and her sisters, Little Miss No Self Control and Little Miss Lack of Love. They were climbing up a knotted rope to get to a slide. When Little Miss Holy Spirit got to the “tippy top” (as she calls it), she decided it was the perfect time to readjust her getting-too-small-had-to-wear-them-sister’s-hand-me-down-cowgirl-boots. Mister Growing in Patience and I watched helplessly as she nearly fell backward down onto the five climbing children behind her and metal platform below. No casualties, though. Thankfully, we were spared a trip to the ER by mere virtue of her fortunate ballerina balancing act. Mister Growing in Patience got quite mad at my poor shoe choice and I did what I always do in these kind of awkward moments – as the five-year olds say, “I B-ed quiet.”
It got me to thinking…
Maybe this gentleness gig isn’t an either/or kind of choice. Maybe it isn’t an either flip out or say nothing kind of prerogative. Maybe, just maybe, it’s supposed to be more like pray about what makes us angry, find a focused way to deal with it and take appropriate, albeit affectionate, action. Balance.
All of the Christian life, practically, is about balance. Balance. So, I don’t know about you, but I’m putting on a pair of boots – I mean fruits – that actually fit before I try to walk the line.
” But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” ~Galatians 5:22