Friday, November 08, 2013

Pray for the Power of Gentleness (PrayerLife)

At Green Lake, Wisconsin

After giving a list of very bad behaviors Paul instructs Timothy to run from those behaviors, and instead go after "righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness."  (2 Timothy 6:11). Here is Ben Witherington on "gentleness." (Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians, Volume 1: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on Titus, 1-2 Timothy and 1-3 John

“Gentleness” was a moral ideal in the Greco-Roman world, despite all its wars and brutality. It was not some weak and wimpy character defect. To a Greek, gentleness was strength. Plato wrote that all good persons have the virtue of gentleness. "Gentleness was especially said to be a virtue of leaders. It involved calmness and moderation, and a kind wielding of power towards others that promotes reconciliation. Gentleness is the opposite of brutality or raw rage." (op. cit., 292-293)

Raw rage is weakness. It's a loose cannon whose origin is the loss of self-control. Raw rage is destructive; gentleness is productive. Therefore gentleness is power. It is the power to win over enemies, rather than create more of them.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)

Gentleness deflects wrath, like a lancer parries an incoming attack. Harsh words and raw rage add fuel to the fires of conflict; Spirit-empowered gentleness puts fires out.

Rage is weakness. Gentleness is strength.

Pray for the power of gentleness today.