How do you tie gentleness to Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent? Nothing about Lent is gentle. It’s a harsh reality about what’s coming ahead— the crucifixion of Jesus. We have to fast from meat on Fridays and give up something for 40 days, for heaven’s sake! This is a time of preparing our hearts, of realizing our faults, of enduring the grey skies of winter in anticipation of the resurrection of Christ and the return of Spring. There’s nothing gentle about that. It’s harsh, that is what it is.
And then, I am reminded about the gentleness of Christ. Jesus is our example. He his the Good Shepherd who cares for His sheep. He leads us through our lives, from one experience to the next. We create the chaos and He gently leads us to Himself. Sometimes we think we are the ones who have it all under control, that we are the master of our ships. Oh, we have choices to make, to be sure. But ultimately, God is in control, whether we like it or not. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Do you ever wonder about how you’ve arrived at where you are in your life? How some things have worked out and others didn’t? Take a moment and just think about it—the whole picture that is your life. Amazing, isn’t it?
Life isn’t about how much money you make or where you live, what kind of house you live in or what car you drive. Take the focus off the material things of this world. The focus is on how much you love. The quality of our lives is in the loving, in the relationships we build with the people God has placed in them.
So now, this is where gentleness comes in— in the treatment of other people in our lives and in our relationship with Christ.
Everyone wants happiness, meaning and purpose. Social media is a testament to that. We are so captivated looking at other people’s lives and what they’re doing that we sometimes aren’t even paying attention to the person sitting in the same room right in front of us.
I want to encourage you to find a church tonight that is giving out ashes. Let someone put the sign of the Cross on your forehead and then “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.” It’s a reminder we all need. Take a minute each day, then, in the next 40 days, anticipating the arrival of Easter. You too can experience the “gentleness of Christ.”
You can get the free gentleness worksheet here to help you get started.