February 27, 2023

Stirring Up Gentleness

Proverbs 15:1-4

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

—  Proverbs 15:1

Think about a time when someone made you angry. May­be they cut you off in traffic. Perhaps they made a rude comment on social media. Or maybe someone made you feel stupid, and you were embarrassed in front of your peers. In any of these situations, it’s easy to fire back a defensive response.

But if we act out in anger, we will only make the situation worse. Our sinful nature wants to get back at the person who has offended us, but that is not the peaceful approach Scripture calls us to.

Our proverb for today points us to the way of Jesus, who told his disciples, “Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29). This is one of the few times Jesus actually listed attributes of himself. He is gentle and humble in heart.

As Jesus also showed, there is a place for anger in situations where God is being mocked or injustice is being allowed (see Mark 11:15-17), but those moments are few and far between. And as Paul reminds us in Ephesians 4:26, “In your ­anger do not sin” (see also Psalm 4:4). That’s the way Jesus operates.

The next time someone makes you angry, how might you respond with a gentle spirit?

Lord, grant me humility and a gentle spirit so that I can show your love and wisdom to the people around me. Purge anger from me so that I can be like you. Amen.

About the author — Jenna Fabiano

Jenna Fabiano is an ordained minister and pastor at Willoughby Church in Langley, British Columbia. She and her family live in nearby Coquitlam, B.C.

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