“Are you serious?! You don’t remember your Mom ever being harsh to you?” My older son Grant said to me a while ago with a puzzled face filled with incredulity after I was reminiscing with him about my late Mom’s gentle ways. My heart sank when I heard him say that. The fact that my son was so reluctant to believe that his Grandma, my Mother, had actually been a kind person who was never harsh, said a lot about…me.
Grant never met my Mom, which is a REAL shame. That’s why I try to talk to him about her as much as possible. As he now realizes, his Mom is NOTHING like his Grandma…unfortunately. The Holy Spirit is certainly taking His time growing the fruit of gentleness in my soul. As I think about what the reason might be, I realize it has to do with my lack of patience. Of course all the Fruits are interrelated and they are interdependent. However, as we saw with kindness and goodness, some of them relate to each other in a rather special way.
Gentleness, in my personal case, is hindered by my underdeveloped patience. In my desire to get things my way and in my own time, my actions towards others suffer as I don’t get what I want when I want it. It is selfishness, again.
My rebellious spirit demands control. God’s loving nature offers opportunities to repent, learn and change. That’s why He often puts people or circumstances in our lives to develop the lacking traits in us and polish our character. Our children, for instance, become God’s handy tools for this purpose very regularly. Regardless of their age, they tend to do exactly the opposite that we tell them to do when they sense we are nagging them (the same goes for husbands, boyfriends, students and the like : ) In turn, impatient-harsh-short-fused Mom becomes infuriated at the smallest sign of perceived disobedience. It is a crazy cycle that can only be broken by matured fruits of the Spirit.
Acceptance is a key word here. It is important to accept the fact that we are all individuals with individual brains which function individually and usually not in complete and perfect sync with ours. Accepting that being firm doesn't mean being harsh and that God is working in all of us at the same time is a sign of Christian maturity. The same way He is working in me, He is working in those around me in a very specific way, and as we interact with each other, the fruits growing in me, will promote the growing of the fruits of those next to me. As my boys see gentleness developing in my actions, they will witness the power of the Holy Spirit in a restless and willful soul, which will bring hope to all.
“That’s right, Grandma was a gentle soul, and I’m not like her much at all; but God is working in me and there is nothing impossible for Him!” I tell Grant as he pauses to consider the implications of my words. I pray he gets to witness the work of His hands in me, and that someday he could talk to his own kids about how God mended my ways.
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