Monday, September 13, 2010

"Conflict Resolution - Gentleness" - My Article in the Southside Messenger

Spirit & Truth # 194
“Conflict Resolution – Gentleness”
By Rev. Greg Smith

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. (Philippians 4:4-5 NKJV)

I get a kick out of watching parents deal with their misbehaving children, as the holidays draw near. Even as early as September and October, I’ve heard parents say, “You’d better watch out—Santa Claus is watching.” If the child is a believer in the jolly old elf, this elicits immediate obedience. After all, “He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!”

If we can be good for Santa, then by all means, we should be good for Jesus! The scripture says, “Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.” When you find yourself in conflict, let your gentleness show through. You should do this because Jesus is watching, because you want to please Him. You are able to do this because the Lord is at hand, constantly lending His aid in your life.

How can you be gentle in the face of conflict? Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible explains that word that Paul uses for “gentleness,” which he translates as “moderation.”

Let your moderation be known - The word επιεικες is of very extensive signification; it means the same as επιεικεια, mildness, patience, yieldingness, gentleness, clemency, moderation, unwillingness to litigate or contend; but moderation is expressive enough as a general term. "Moderation," says Dr. Macknight, "means meekness under provocation, readiness to forgive injuries, equity in the management of business, candour in judging of the characters and actions of others, sweetness of disposition, and the entire government of the passions."

Jesus is our source of gentleness, our example of meekness. The Holy Spirit works in our hearts to produce the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Allow Him to have His way in your heart, and you will be able to approach conflict with a gentle spirit, because the Lord is near.

Regarding gentleness, President Woodrow Wilson said:

The way we generally strive for rights is by getting our fighting blood up; and I venture to say that is the long way and not the short way. If you come at me with your fists doubled, I think I can promise you that mine will double as fast as yours; but if you come to me and say, "Let us sit down and take counsel together, and, if we differ from one another, understand why it is that we differ from one another, just what the points at issue are," we will presently find that we are not so far apart after all, that the points on which we differ are few and the points on which we agree are many, and that if we only have the patience and the candor and the desire to get together, we will get together. (Bits and Pieces, September 17, 1992. Pp 14-15).

I pray that the next time a fight comes your way, you’ll access the fruit that the Holy Spirit has placed within you. I pray you’ll find your gentleness, which leads to peace.

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