One of the good things about Lent is the opportunity to pause a little and reflect more. We live in a world of hustle and bustle and hurry is something we all get used to. It can be good to take time to ponder anew all God can do and learn from the One who is gentle and humble in heart. (Matt 11:28-30) Our present situation, with bustle being forcibly removed from many, gives us the opportunity to pause and reflect even more.
Embracing gentleness means leaving behind our cut-throat society, with its dog-eat-dog mentality. It means turning the other cheek when we’d really rather not. (Matt 5:38-40) It means learning to see things from someone else’s point of view and giving people the benefit of the doubt instead of being volatile and hot-tempered. Gentleness is not something most of us find easy, but we can all probably remember what it feels like to be on the receiving end of gentleness. Having someone speak gently instead of harshly, being enfolded in a parent’s embrace when we fell as a child, being encouraged instead of put down are things which don’t take away the hurt and pain in themselves, but which make those things more bearable.
In prophesying about the Messiah to come, Isaiah said, ‘He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets.3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out.’ (Is 42:2-3) We can be the recipients of God’s gentleness to us and therefore can overflow with His gentleness to others as we abide in the vine.