Joy from Being Gentle Toward Others

Read: Philippians 4:4-5

Rejoice in the Lord . . . Let your gentleness be known to everyone. (vv. 4-5)

Eugene Peterson calls joyful, gentle living "subversive behavior"-the practice of Christ-like virtues hidden from public view.

As we find joy in knowing Christ we will be helped to be gentle toward others. The result? We experience greater harmony in our relationships. Joy in Christ puts our other relationships into balance. We remember that we belong to Christ before we belong to each other. If we belong to Christ then we must give up our natural tendency to try to control or dominate each other. I have no right to do that to you; you belong to Another. My only right is to serve you as Christ has served me in his life and at the cross. And the same is true for you toward me.

Martin Luther said that we should act as little Christs to each other. We can go through life insisting on our rights. That is one way to go. Many do, but it's a joyless path. We can fight with others instead of acting as peacemakers. The news is filled with reports of such behavior. It may make news, but it doesn't make for joy. What makes for joy is the gentleness that comes from knowing Christ.

Prayer: Lord of joy, gentle Christ, help me be kind and generous today.

Used with Permission