Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near (Philippians 4:5).
Eugene Peterson phrased it a little differently in The Message:
Make it as clear as possible to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them not against them (Philippians 4:5 Message).
Maybe it’s the political climate. Maybe it’s what I see during my brief jaunts into the social media world. Maybe it’s the increasing number of churches that appear to be more focused on numbers and building a public image than the people they serve. Maybe it’s how I see some parents deal with their children during my visits to the grocery store.
Whatever the reason, the words continue to play in my head: ”Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”
The words remind me that in a political climate where destroying the opponent is the priority, I must lead with gentleness. I must convey to people that, although we might disagree, I am not working against them. I am on their side.
In the culture of religion, I must lead with a gentleness that demonstrates, beyond any doubt, that the person in front of me matters more than anything else. What is happening in his life is what’s important. The concerns of her heart deserve my full attention.
In a society where parents are overwhelmed, overbooked, overworked, and overstressed, I can be a voice of gentleness that says, “You are not alone. God is aware of everything you are experiencing.”
I am not so naïve to think that leading with gentleness will be an overnight solution to all dysfunctional families, misguided churches, power-hungry governments, and businesses focused on the power of the dollar. However, I do believe that it might help the members of my family, the women and men with whom I work and worship along with the mothers, dads, husbands, wives, and children with whom I interact on a daily basis.
So, I suppose the reason these words keep coming back to me is the Lord is saying: