Tuesday, June 7, 2011


All the virtues build on each other, so I've been pondering gentleness from that angle.  What are the vices that might keep me from being gentle?  What does it take to be gentle?

The first vice that comes to mind as being opposed to gentleness is selfishness.  If I am thinking of myself and what I want, then I will be harsh and impatient when interrupted.  If, on the other hand, I am thinking of how I may serve others, then I will be quick and cheerful in meeting their needs.  After dinner I usually clean up the kitchen.  If, while I'm doing that, I'm thinking of myself  (I'm tired.  I want to go to bed.  I want to sit down.), then I will leave the job half-done, doing just enough to keep the dirty dishes from taking over, and I'll take twice as long as I need to accomplish it.  If I'm interrupted in such a frame of mind, I'm likely to delay and frown as I respond to whoever needs my attention.  If, however, I'm thinking of others (If I set the timer on the coffee maker, then my husband will have an easier time getting up in the morning.  I should sweep the floor, so that the baby won't try to put anything yucky in her mouth tomorrow morning.), then I move more quickly, do the job more thoroughly, and if interrupted, will respond more promptly and cheerfully.

Similarly, pride will prevent me from being gentle.  If I am proud when I encounter an inconvenience (like the person in the parking garage driving really slowly ... he'll make me late for my appointment!  How dare he!) then I will be incensed because of the infringement upon my "rights."  I may speak harshly either to the offender, if he is available, or to everyone else around me if he is not.  If I am humble then I realize that the big bad world doesn't owe me a thing (and if I'm late for my appointment, then I should accounted for unexpected delays and left the house earlier) and I will remain calm.

In order to acquire the habit of always being gentle I should learn to keep my thoughts in a generous, humble vein.  When I start to feel impatient, I should respond by thinking of the needs of others (remembering, of course, that I also have a duty to meet my own needs; I am unlikely to be gentle to anyone if I am exhausted and cross.)

Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like Thine.  Amen.


  1. What a wonderful post and just what I needed. I have a rare type of arthritis which causes me a lot of pain. Somehow I do pretty well through the day but by 4:00 PM I'm starting to get exhausted and the pain increases. I have to ask for the Lord's help to make dinner and often just leave the dishes in the sink until morning (no dishwasher) until I have more energy and less pain. This leaves the kitchen looking disheveled and depressing. Your post showed me where my attitude is a factor and where I need to change. I'm going to print it out and read it every evening before dinner and the dishes.I think it will help me go that extra mile and get the dishes done and the kitchen cleaned up. Thank you SO much !