I have enjoyed riding a bicycle since I was a child. There are three things that can make a bike ride an unpleasant experience: Careless drivers, dogs,
and bumpy roads.
Eaton County (where I live) has many unpaved roads that are quite bumpy. These roads may have some attractive scenery, but they also can make a bike ride an unpleasant experience. Likewise, in the road of life, people that we know face bumpy roads. These roads can bring discouragement, heartache, pain, danger and failure.
How sensitive are we to people who are traveling a bumpy road? How can we smooth out the bumps in the lives of others? A gentle spirit can smooth out the bumpy roads in the lives of others. The Apostle Paul says: “Let your moderation (gentleness) be made known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” (Philippians 4:5) One Person defined gentleness as: “Showing personal care and concern in meeting the needs of others.” Do we interact with people in gentleness or in harshness?
I am glad that Jesus deals with me in gentleness when I face some bumpy roads in my life. However, how often do I make the effort to deal with others in a spirit of gentleness? Here are some of the ways that we experience Christ’s gentleness in the bumpy roads of our life.
1. He forgives me when I sin against Him. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” (1 John 1:9) Do I forgive others willingly when they sin against me?
2. He never leaves me when life gets rough. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5) Do I stick by others when the going gets tough in their lives?
3. He gives me strength to carry on. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13) Do I help others carry their burdens or do I add to their burdens? “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)
4. His Word encourages me to move forward. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
(1 Corinthians 15:58) Do I encourage others with my words? Some of these words can be: “You can do it.” “I am praying for you.” “I thank the Lord for you.”
5. His Love is unconditional. Christ’s love is always there because his love is not based upon my behavior, but upon His character. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Romans 8:35) Do I continue to show love to others even when it would seem easy to turn away from them?
There are many people who are facing a bumpy ride in this life. Are we willing to go the extra mile and show gentleness towards them? This will be a great way to smooth out their bumpy ride. Our gentleness can be considered the shock absorber of life.
Some thought questions about gentleness
(From “Character Clues Bookshelf Game“)
1. Do those you correct walk away motivated or discouraged?
2. Do people avoid you when they know they have disappointed you?
3. Do you take the time to build a friendship along with correction?
4. Do those who work with you feel that you are committed to them or to getting the job done?