On evident gentleness

Note from Jodie: This essay was sent to my newsletter readers last month, but I felt it needed to be posted here as it is the start of my new blog direction. If you would like to get my newsletter every month in your inbox sign up here

Let your gentleness be evident to all

Philippians 4:5 (NIV)

I can’t get this verse out of my head at the moment. Let your gentleness be evident? Why not your platform, your power, or your voice?

What is evident anyway?

Evident: easy to see or understand; apparent

Oh, so I need to live in a way that my gentleness is easy to see? How does that happen? How do I work the social media algorithms for gentleness to be seen?  What course do I need to take? How do I upskill for gentleness?

And what about that pesky three letter word ‘all’. Does that mean I need to be gentle in my home behind closed doors when only my family are present? Does that mean I need to be gentle in the madness at school pickup when someone cuts in? Why does that little word ‘all’ have to be there?

How is gentleness evident anyway? It is so quiet and unassuming. It’s not a look at me trait, it’s not loud and brash and out there.

These are all the questions bouncing around inside me, and yet I keep returning to the phrase: Let your gentleness be evident to all.

The amplified version of this verse develops the idea of gentleness further.

Let your gentle spirit  [your graciousness, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance, and patience] be known to all people. 

Philippians 4:5 (AMP)

Okay so I am to have gentle spirit, and that is shown in how I live. For these traits are all shown in interaction with others. There is no need to be unselfish if I don’t interact with other people. Likewise, I find it is quite easy to be patient when no one is testing my patience.

Well, this seems like a huge task, I am to have a gentle spirit in the face of a harsh world. In the face of a world that is constantly telling me to be bigger, louder, and more of an influencer. I am to have a gentle spirit with all people, not just the ones I am trying to impress. And there is no course for this!

But the astute among you will notice that I have not actually quoted the full verse. For the second sentence of Philippians 4 verse 5 is “The Lord is near”.

This is such a comfort to me. Because I am not asked to do this by myself. Jesus is with me. He is helping me, growing me, developing a gentle spirit in me. And I wasn’t exactly right in saying there is no course for this. For the verses in Philippians 4 look at a number of different ways to cultivate gentleness.

So every Wednesday, for the next few weeks here on the blog, I am going to work through these verses. Looking at how I can, in partnership with Christ, cultivate a gentle spirit. I invite you to join the conversation, for as I said before I can’t practise gentleness without relationship.

Peace be with you,