Saturday, January 7, 2012

Gentleness Challenge

I came across something that piqued my interest the other day. I have been convicted often for my anger and for the way that I express it. Yes, because of my past and even my present suffering, I have A LOT of anger. It used to be that I would express it by setting expectations for others way too high and then losing it when they couldn’t meet it. I still express it by setting expectations for myself way too high. I may not “lose it” quite as frequently any more (I don’t feel like a big bad wolf all the time anymore), but it is definitely still there.

There are times when I can stifle my anger and appear happy. I can even convince myself that I am happy. Maybe I am happy, but it is way too easy for that anger to resurface. Recently, I got my hopes up on something, then I had to interact with people I really don’t even like anymore, and I suffered a lot of pain over the weekend. Yeah, my anger returned with a vengeance.

I have been completely unreasonable for about a week now. For no reasonable reason, I give my husband a hard time. I am not talking about my normal picking with him. I am talking all out ATTITUDE and, I fear, a lot of disrespect. Just the other day, I broke out in a yelling, screaming, crying fit. About halfway through, I realized I was unreasonable and not in my right frame of mind, but I also had no clue how to stop it. (Probably a little bit of pride poking through there.)

I came across Courtney’s Gentleness Challenge. Now, she has directed this towards children, but I intend to include my husband in on this too. It is too easy to treat the people that we love the most with, shall we say, less than gentleness.

Matthew Henry says “What is spoken wisely should be spoken calmly, and then it will be calmly considered. But passion will lessen the force even of reason, instead of adding any force to it.”

Expressing my anger may make me feel better momentarily, but what kind of damage does it do in the long run? It forces my loved ones to emotionally protect themselves. This is done by tuning out what I am actually saying, or by convincing themselves that my opinion doesn’t matter or, God forbid, I don’t love them anyway.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

When we walk in the Spirit – we will be gentle mothers.  But when we walk in the flesh – we lack all of these attributes.

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