Somewhere along the line, it became cool to be loud and bitter. It became an expectation that for us to change the world (our job, apparently), we had to become social activists. Not the good kind—the Rosa Parks type of social activist. I mean the other kind. The abrasive, snarky, shaming, Jesus-juking, share-button hitting, constantly outraged kind of social activists.
The apostle Paul admonishes us:
“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” (Phil. 4:5)
Dare I say that for many of us…our gentleness is scarcely evident to our Sisters and Brothers in Christ…much less the world. What good do we hope to do for the world without gentleness and meekness? These days, I hear volumes of sermons, books and blog posts about the supposed social activism of Jesus…and scarcely anything about His gentleness or calm. The one who said, “Blessed are the meek,” is now portrayed instead as many of us are—bitter, frustrated, and earth-oriented.
Perhaps our place in a society already suffering from its own anxiety disorder is through calm, not crusade. What if we were known less as electronic crusaders, and more as a non-anxious, gentle presence in the world? Just as Paul says to the Philippians that they will shine like stars if they do everything without complaining and grumbling—I wonder if we would shine more brightly if our gentleness was evident to all. After all, the Lord is near.
In yesterday’s sermon at New Vintage Church, I suggested, “Calm is the unicorn of virtues in a world gone mad.” I believe that. If we want to bear witness and impact the world, perhaps we can start here—with the Fruits of the Spirit—like gentleness. Let our gentleness be evident to all, Scripture says. Well, I guess I have some work to do.
The problems of the world we live in are significant, indeed. But, the world wasn’t changed by Jesus the crusader. It was changed by Jesus the Crucified.