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Pearls of Wisdom from Philippians 4: A Gentle Spirit

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Philippians 4:5

This verse is talking about the way we judge others. The Greek word epieikeia which Paul uses is explained as justice. It is sometimes translated as patience or forbearance.

Some of us see most things in black or white. It is either right or wrong. There are rights and wrongs in God’s laws. However, Paul is admonishing the Philippians to look at the circumstances as they judge and deal with others. Romans 13:1 tells us to accept him whose faith is weak without passing judgment on disputable matters.

I taught first grade. Many of my students came from low socio-economic backgrounds.
One day during my first year of teaching I noticed Ronnie standing up as he ate his lunch.

“Ronnie, sit in your chair.  I know you don’t stand up and eat at home.”

“Yes, Ma,am I do,” he replied. “We don’t have a chair for me to sit in.”

The lesson I learned that day was just one of many I learned from my six year olds.
I began to delve into their lives and try to understand why they behaved as they did.

Jesus was a gentle person. You didn’t hear him admonishing many people. If you notice, the group He scolded the most often was the religious leaders. He was a gentle person.

He was compassionate with the adulterous woman at the well, and invited himself to go home and eat with Zacchaeus, the little tax collector. He taught that it is wrong to judge and that we will be judged the same way we judge others. Sometimes we try to put people in molds. We judge others’ dress, actions, and morals. If we wish to win people to the Lord, we need to be gentle and look beyond the letter of the law. That doesn’t mean we condone sin, but that we love the sinner and want him/her to come to know the Lord.

Think about this gentle spirit the next time you see a bag lady or a vagrant, or observe someone doing something you think is wrong. Be like gentle Jesus.

Dear Father, Help us remember that Jesus is our example of gentleness. We need to
            emulate Him.

Janice Yandell

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