Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Phil. 4:5
Dear Lord Jesus, there is no one more gentle with us than you, especially when we deserve the opposite. There is no one as welcoming of sinners, as kind to the broken, or as understanding of the struggling as you. You’re gentle, yet persistent; gentle, yet firm; gentle, yet so very powerful.
And you’re the perfect surgeon, Jesus—the only physician I want working on my inner heart. You never get nervous, flustered, agitated, or hurried. You have a steady hand because of your steady heart. By the truth and power of the gospel, come and make of me a true gentle-man—someone whose gentleness is “evident to all,” and not just evident to the people who are so easy for me to be with.
(As I bring to the Lord several ways I know I’m often not very gentle, think of the same for yourself)
Gentle me when I’m behind slow drivers who stay in the fast lane. Gentle me when I face both fair and unfair criticism. Gentle me when I think things that are obvious to me ought to be obvious to everybody else. Gentle me when loud, boorish people invade “my” space—as though I have an inalienable right to an uninterrupted life.
Gentle me when I’m too tired to engage but my wife really needs me to listen. Gentle me when I need a nap but my grandson needs to play. Gentle me when several things break in the same week. Gentle me when three stores “just ran out” of the one thing I need. Gentle me when I try to assume control over things which are your domain. In fact, gentle when, Jesus, when I get tired of waiting for you.
Gentle me when the vacation gets cut short by crises. Gentle me when friends keep making the same mistakes and foolish choices. Gentle me when the restaurant sends me home with the wrong takeout order. Gentle me when Satan starts condemning me for things I actually did, but things for which you already paid my debt.
Gentle me when I start debating theology rather than loving the people who see things differently. Gentle me when I cannot fix the very people you never gave me to fix. Gentle me quick, whenever I begin to get defensive, irritated, anxious, impatient… and when I “cop” other attitudes that contradict your grace and love.
Jesus, as this Scripture says, you are so near us in the gospel; in fact, you live in our hearts. You’re also near in terms of coming back soon to finish making all things new. May every expression of your nearness generate a much quicker repentance on my part. Make me a gentle man by the gospel and for your glory. So very Amen I pray, in your kind and loving name.