1 THESSALONIANS 2:7
“But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mothertenderly cares for her own children.”
There is a word in these two verses that is translated differently here than any other place in the New Testament. “Gentle” is translated elsewhere as babes, infants or childish. What is Paul trying to say here and why did the translators use “gentle” here? Paul is simply saying he came to the Thessalonians not in boldness and harshness, but like a baby or infant would present themselves, tender and gentle. Then he goes on to compare that word to how a mother cares for a child she is nursing. What a beautiful picture.
So how are you approaching people? My brother-in-law and Pastor understood this. He always approached others in this fashion. That’s why EVERYONE believed he was their best friend. They all felt accepted and loved by him. He was always so kind and giving of his time. Just like a nursing mother cannot rush the feeding of her child, Wayne would take the time, even when he didn’t have it, to talk with someone who asked. And he did give his whole life to the preaching of the Gospel.
How in the world do we teach our children this principle? There is only one way, which we seem to see a lot. We have to model it for them. If we aren’t patient and gentle with them, they will not be with others. As they see us live out this principle, they will learn how to emulate it also. It will become part of their DNA too.
My wife has had the joy and privilege the past several months to care for our granddaughter three to four days a week. She has modeled gentleness to her. When she gets frustrated or irritable, my wife gently corrects her. By doing that consistently, it has been amazing to watch our granddaughter calm down. Gentleness is more caught than taught.
The next time you start to get aggravated with someone, stop and apply this principle. You are doing it, not only because the Lord tells you to, but also because the next generation is watching. They will take mental notes. And the next time they encounter someone who needs to be treated gently they will have the image of you doing the same. Now that’s leaving a legacy!
I am not the most, gentle person, Lord. Teach me gentleness. Teach me kindness. Let my children and others see that in me.