Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0
Let your gentleness be known to all man. The Lord is at hand.
Good morning Prayer Team!
Today we continue a series on Philippians 4:4-13, by examining verse five. I remember a Protestant praise song from my elementary school days at a Christian school which said “and they’ll know we are Christians by our Love.” And gentleness is one of the ways that we show love.
If someone was to evaluate your life on a daily basis, would they describe you as more gentle or more harsh? More gentle or more judging? More gentle or more abrupt?
When you have to say something that is less than positive to someone, do you do it in a way that gently speaks the truth in love, or do you speak the truth in a condemnatory way, in a way that cuts someone down unnecessarily?
Striving to be an empathetic person is one key in how to be gentle. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Most of us have had the experience of sending a less than positive email to someone. It’s almost impossible in a job to NOT have to do that at least occasionally. And many of us are called to do this on a weekly basis. Do you ever pray for the person who you are about to send a less than positive email to? Do you ever stop and put yourself in their shoes, wonder how they will feel when they open it? Try to be a little more empathetic, speak the truth with love (and try to stay away from speaking it with judgment or condemnation), be as gentle as you can be with people today. Read today’s verse as an affirmation throughout the day.
As for the Lord being at hand, imagine that the Lord is standing next to you all day today (because He IS!). Imagine that He is present at every meeting, that He sits next to you at your computer as you type your emails, that He is sitting at your kitchen table at meals, that He’s next to you in your car as you stress out in traffic. Walk with the Lord today, conscious of His presence at all times, and you will be well on your way to being gentle with people. And the people you meet, even if they are not Christian people, will have a sense that a power is at work in you. They may not see it as God, but they will not mistake it. People know a gentle person when they see one. And people appreciate a gentle person more than a hostile one!
Lord, thank You for walking with me every day. Help me to have a greater sense that You are beside me in all places, in all the things I am doing. Help me to be a more empathetic person today. Help me to be gentle to everyone I encounter. Help me to always speak the truth, but to always strive to speak it with love. Help me to be gentle today, and strengthen my faith that You are always at hand. Amen.
Have a great day! Be gentle!
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