How to Be Both Strong and Gentle

How to Be Both Strong and Gentle

Lucinda Secrest McDowell

          We welcomed a new baby into our extended family recently. Beatrice is precious and perfect, with ten fingers and ten toes. She is rosy and healthy, for which we are all most grateful. But she is still tiny and fragile.

            So everyone treats her with much gentleness.

            Even I know to be gentle with newborns. It’s everyone else I seem to have trouble with…

            Paul reminded, “Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people. The Lord is near.” (Philippians 4:5)

            I often imagine God admonishing me, “Cindy, take it down a notch.” Or “Lower your voice.” Or even “Keep Calm and Carry On!” (who says God doesn’t quote the British?)

            I confess, my default manner is not gentleness. In fact, my tone of voice with all its urgency (I prefer to call it ‘passion’) is sometimes mistaken for harsh instead of enthusiastic. Imagine!

            But I long to let my “gentleness show.” A soft touch. A whispered endearment. A kind word of encouragement and support.

            blogGentleWhat if, in our “treatment of all people,” we used the same gentle manner as with babies or frail and elderly great-grandmothers? As though they might break if handled too harshly.

           Sometimes the strongest thing we can do is to be gentle.

            The truth is we all break rather easily.

             And the louder the words we hear, the more defensive we become. King Solomon knew this quite well when he warned, “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” (Proverbs 15.1)

Harsh words can crush a spirit and shut down a soul. Kind words can mend a broken heart or plant a dream.

In what ways can you offer gentleness to others today?

  • The clerk at the checkout counter
  • The colleague at work
  • The unruly child who clamors for attention
  • The spouse who is sometimes overlooked

            Take heart, no matter whether you are predisposed or not to being a gentle person. “Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves.” (Matthew 11.29) With Christ dwelling in us, being yoked to us, we can learn from the best of the best.

Because not only is He gentle, but “The Lord is near.”

under the mercy, Cindy

©2016 Lucinda Secrest McDowell
dwellingplacescoverabingdonMy new book Dwelling Places – Words to Live in Every Season by Lucinda Secrest McDowell arrives June 2016 from the good folks at Abingdon Press. Available in Paperback and Hardcover. 
Preorder from Amazon HERE
Preorder from ChristianBook HERE
Preorder from AbingdonPress HERE
NOTE: Did you enjoy this blog? If so, would you consider entering your email in the above right form and subscribing to it by email? I assure you I won’t overload your in-box, but would love to send you these ‘encouraging words’ each Wednesday. Thanks!
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5 Responses to How to Be Both Strong and Gentle

  1. Cherrilynn Bisbano says:

    Cindy, thank you for the gentleness reminder. I too can be loud. God has been teaching me to take it down a notch. I have always found you graceful, compassionate, and kind during our conversations.

  2. Great reminder that sometimes our intentions don’t always come through in our inflection or tone of voice… It’s taken me YEARS to learn to find balance between being very direct / matter of fact (my natural bent) and being gentle and diplomatic. Sometimes I’ve swung too far one way, sometimes too far the other (not telling the truth when it’s needed, because being “nice” seems to be more convenient or acceptable or peaceable). But Jesus keeps helping me when I get off track, and so do the people I love. Thank God! We’re all learning and growing together! Hugs xoxoxo

    • Of course, friend, you know how much your comment means to me today. Yes, we are all learning and growing together. Lifelong sanctification. So thankful for Jesus’ help. And friends like you too…

  3. Jim Douglas says:

    Great stuff…as always!

    James O. Douglas
    Partner | ASLA

    landscape architecture | planning | urban design |

    120 29th Avenue South | Nashville, TN | 37212
    T. 615-327-4447 | F. 615-321-3004

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