I owe so much of my heart to the insight and inspiration of the late Henri Nouwen who wrote this many, many years ago.
“Jesus, the Blessed One, is gentle. Even though he speaks with great fervor and biting criticism against all forms of hypocrisy and is not afraid to attack deception, vanity, manipulation and oppression, his heart is a gentle heart. He won't break the crushed reed or snuff the faltering wick (see Matthew 12:20). He responds to people's suffering, heals their wounds, and offers courage to the fainthearted. Jesus came to bring good news to the poor, sight to the blind, and freedom to prisoners (see Luke 4:18-19) in all he says, and thus he reveals God's immense compassion. As his followers, we are called to that same gentleness.”
Today’s violent and divisive world doesn’t leave much room for sharing gentleness with others, yet that is precisely why we need to embrace these words and take up this cross now more than ever. People continue to suffer, desire compassion or a gentle nudge of encouragement. If not you and me, then who?
While it takes a whole hunk of vulnerability to allow yourself this freedom to be with someone in their pain or suffering - without having anything but your presence to offer - the reward for doing so can be transforming, if not down right life giving. The disciples were first hand witnesses to this. And they took what they learned and went a did the same. Now it’s our turn.
To practice the acts of love as Christ did is to thrive in the same Spirit of love as he did. No one can sit in the presence of God and walk away unchanged, whether you’re the giver or the receiver of God’s gentleness.
How might you embrace or showcase your gentleness?
Charlie Mackesy Prodial Daughter. Bronze.
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”