Posts Tagged ‘humble’

Gentleness Becomes You

October 26, 2015

Blessed are the gentle. We mostly know the verse with an older English word–meek. Today’s usage renders meek as perhaps not the optimum translation.

One must be strong to be gentle. One is passive to be meek–at least the way we understand that word today.

The super-aggressive person drives people away. Few, if any, other people wish to be around such a person. They may get their way for a while, but often the end comes early.

The passive, er meek, person leaves people cold. Being with them seems as if there is no “there” there. They have little to contribute.

How often have we wished the we could take some of the aggressiveness from one to bring them down a little while giving it to the other so that they would gain some confidence and speak up and assert themselves a little.

Let’s look at gentle.

A gentle person is confident in their identity. They are comfortable in who they are. Not seeking limelight, they work often behind the scenes for the benefit of others.

A gentle person treats others respectfully. Not shouting or deceitful. Not seeking vengence nor trying to bring them down.

A gentle person also treats themselves gently. Comfortable in who they are and confident in their place, they avoid negative self-talk. They take care of themselves–health, intellect, spirit, relationships.

A gentle person treats nature well. Not defacing or destroying.

I’m glad that the word “gentle” came into my consciousness last week. It reminded me of qualities for which I strive. Paul often lists this characteristic in his summary of gifts of the spirit. 

Yes, blessed are the gentle. Make a friend of a gentle person and try to emulate. A good goal for the week.

Be Assertive But Kind

October 14, 2014

Proverbs 11: 16b-17 draws two pairs of contrasts. But the pairs also contrast.

The first pair is timid and aggressive. To be timid is a negative attitude and stance toward life. You let things happen to you. To be aggressive (I don’t know Hebrew, but today we might well call it assertive) is to go out into the world making things happen

The other pair is kind and cruel. Kind, of course is the positive attitude and cruel is the negative.

So Proverbs, Wisdom teaching, tells us that we should be strong and go out and accomplish, but we should do it in such a way as to not trample down others doing it.

This sounds much like the teachings of Jesus, who took most of his teaching directly from Proverbs, who expected people to be strong, to be aggressive. But at the same time he taught that we should put others ahead of ourselves. We should think about the other person in the relationship or the situation. What’s in it for them–not what’s in it for us.

We have had cycles of preaching throughout the 2,000 years of Christendom that has told people, especially poor people, to be timid, meek, humble (in the sense of servitude, not the sense of strength yet putting others before us). That teaching has led to some horrible revolutions in the past. It’s a teaching ignored by the terrorists who call themselves part of Islam.

Is it an attitude we have? There are many today who believe in aggressive in its negative connotation and cruel, at least in attitude toward others. I’ve met several.

I pray we cultivate having a strong personality–one that’s so strong and confident that we can gladly put others before us.

Leaders Need To Know Their Place

August 19, 2014

Yesterday I taught on the positive side of 3 John. Gaius was a strong leader, and John had heard about it and complimented him.

But just as our good deeds get talked about and passed around, so do our bad. Diotrephes is singled out as the example of poor leadership in the organization. How would you like to be known and talked about 2,000 years after your death as the guy “who likes to put himself first.”

Diotrephes was the type of person who knew everything. He even knew more than the apostle who walked with Jesus himself! Just as I wrote the other day about if you are the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room, so Diotrephes liked thinking he was the smartest guy in the room.

A leader needs to know the purpose and foundation of the organization. Even in leadership, the leader needs to know when to put herself or himself second to someone else. Jesus taught leaders serve. He also taught that leaders teach the truth.

We know this in business. It’s even more important in churches. Leaders must be humble–that is, putting God and others before themselves. The self-promoters are like the wheat on the poor soil in the parable that shoot up quickly but have no staying power. They wither and die.

In whatever we are leading, we must have the perspective of serving others–whether they are customers and employees, or people on our committees, or family members.

I just listened to Andy Stanley talk about how your decisions determine your life story. Do you want your story talked about for years after your death the way Diotrephes’ is?