(The power of a soft touch)
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. (Colossians 3:12, NLT)
By Fr. Chris Lee OFR
Many people confuse being gentle as being weak. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, it takes an extremely strong person, full of self-control, to be gentle, kind, and loving. I think of a commercial I saw recently where a muscle-bound wrestler was having a tea party with his little girl. No one would dare call that dude “weak” LOL. Of course, the greatest example of gentle strength is Jesus Christ, who being one hundred percent God Almighty, was at the same time humble, loving, and gentle Son of Man. Jesus, while being the Creator of all things, was at the same time “gentle and humble of heart” (Matthew 11:9). The King of Kings was born in a stable, The Lord of Lords washed His disciple’s feet, and Heaven’s High Priest made Himself the very sacrifice that takes away the sins of the world.
Another great example of a gentle strength is St. Paul. If you have ever read any of his New Testament Epistles, you are aware of his powerful oratory. Let’s be honest, St. Paul tells it like it is! He calls out transgressors, condemns false teaching, and disciplines the rebellious with some of the strongest language in the Bible. (Galatians 2:11; 3; 5:11, 1 Corinthians 4:21, 2 Timothy 2:25) While at the same time being gentle like a mother caring for her little children. (1 Thessalonians 2:7) In fact, he was sometimes criticized for his gentle touch. (2 Corinthians 10:10). Don’t mistake his gentleness for weakness though, because this man endured more suffering than any other Apostle before him. (2 Corinthians 11:23-29) He followed Jesus even unto death by beheading. Does that sound weak to you?
We live in a world where the survival of the fittest reigns as the motto of humanity. A world filled with violence, hate, abuse and addiction. This world can be vicious and unfair with destructive and harsh tactics. We can be tempted to think that strength shows itself through brutal force. Yet in the midst of all this, Christ says “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, NLT) Remember, Jesus Christ overcame the very forces of darkness that ruled over humanity with a gentle strength, and so can we. God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth (Matthew 5:5, NLT)
- Who exemplifies a gentle strength in your life?
- What are some ways you can live out a gentle strength?