Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. -Philippians 4:5a
-we are to be known for having a gentle spirit.
How would you say the world describes us...gentle in spirit? Hmmm, those are not the words I often hear associated with Christians. Hypocrites, judgmental, even haters are more likely candidates these days. Sad to say though it is not surprising given how we often are anything but gentle with those within and without the church.
My son was offered a Bible on the street one day which he turned down. He has his own, he has a heart for the Lord, and he felt that Bible would do more good in the hands of someone else. He was immediately told in no uncertain terms that he was going to hell. Can you imagine? They made a wrong assumption in this case which opened his eyes to how Christians treat others, and he walked away pretty disillusioned.
I recently read these words from a woman who states she is an atheist. "The reason the world hates Christians is because they behave badly, they’re rude, boorish, arrogant, conceited, full of themselves, ignorant, and judgmental." She goes on to say Christians are only interested in people who will go to church with them. She has felt like she was a project rather than a person. For all our good intentions this is more and more what the world thinks of us.
Now no one could ever accuse Paul of being wishy-washy on the Gospel. And he certainly antagonized a lot of people in his day, and continues to do so. Yet he tells us here that we should maintain a gentle spirit. We should be known by ALL men for such a spirit. Is this why he was so effective in promoting the Gospel? Food for thought.
I admit I struggle to find the balance when I am dealing with non-believers. I struggle even more with those who say they are believers and pervert the Gospel or turn away from clear Biblical teaching on things like homosexuality, abortion, the role of women, etc. I confess that it is often easier for me to have that gentle spirit with those of the world than with those of the church. No excuses, just a confession here. I am in need of a little heart transformation in this area. To think, when I laid out the verses I wanted to cover I thought this was going to be a nice, easy day...not even a complete verse to cover today. It sounded like such a pleasant little verse until I started to take a close look at my heart...
Grace, Peace, and Mercy,
I am a woman with a Mary heart and these are my musings as I read and study God's Word
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