"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control; against such things, there is no law."
We are on the fruit of gentleness. I grew up with three brothers and now am a mother of three boys and a girl, who is 100% tom-boy, so gentle is not in my vocabulary. Anyway, here we go, down the untraveled streets of Gentleville. Being that gentleness is listed as part of the fruit of the Spirit, I would think it's pretty important to God. I have been sitting on this writing for over a week because I just couldn't figure out what God is asking of us. What exactly does it mean to be gentle? At first I thought it was to be sweet. I know so many sweet women, either soft gentle voices, or always willing to help in some way or another. I was certain this was what He meant, then I went to therapy. Well not that kind of therapy silly, read on.
I went back to my Physical Therapist as I have been experiencing a reoccurring pain in my neck. After a few weeks of therapy, my PT was perplexed because I would leave in good shape and return a mess again. She noticed that my jaw was out of line and began to work on the muscles surrounding it. You see, I suffer with TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder). The temporomandibular joint is what connects the upper jaw bone to the temporal bone of the skull. Temporomandibular disorders occur as a result of problems with the jaw, jaw joint, and surrounding facial muscles which control chewing and jaw movement. This is caused from different reasons such as grinding, clenched teeth, stress and so on.
After a few weeks of working on my face, she sent me home with homework. She said to place my hands on either side of my face and let it sit for about five minutes. She said to apply very light pressure without letting go the entire time. The reason for this is that the muscles tend to tighten back up if you use too much pressure or if you remove your hands too soon. If you sit and let the warmth of your hands soften the muscle while you gently move your hands downward to pull the muscles back into place. In taking your time with the movement, the muscle doesn't even realize that they are moving until they are right back where they belonged in the first place. This process takes time because it took a long time to get into that unhealthy position, so patience and consistency is so important.
This got me thinking. How many times do we or someone we know seems to walk away from all we've believed in. Romans 3:23 tells us we all fall short of God's glory, meaning we are human and every one of us will mess up now and then. It is easy to let that take root and head down a destructive path. The problem is, when we are walking away, we can't see it. Others around us, however, can see it as clear as day. If someone in our life seems to be walking away, the way we handle it is crucial. Like the facial muscles, people need a little therapy every now and then. We all need friends that can apply warmth and care as we struggle. We need someone who will gently help guide us back on the road to righteousness. If too much pressure is applied to the struggling person, they are likely to run in the opposite direction feeling judged rather than loved. And finally, being patient without letting go the entire time, allowing them space to figure things out or see the light in the situation. It will definitely take time, so as you wait, pray. Prayer is the key. Only God can remove those blinders, nothing we can say or do, just God. This is the hardest part of friendship, but it is where a true friend shows through.
I will leave you with a quote that I love "A true friend is someone who knows all about you and loves you the same" but I will add an ending to it; "but a true friend won't leave you there." So as you walk your road of faith, if you or someone you know seems to stumble, don't walk away in frustration, help them up. Love them in truth and who knows, maybe God will allow you to love them right back to Christ.