Excerpt from James 3:17-18
“But the wisdom from above is . . . gentle.”
Reflection by Donna Schaper
We hear a lot of talk about lost tenderness, increasing toughness; lost softness, increasing hardness. The writer of James suggests the divine origin of gentleness. That origin may matter more than we think.
Gentleness turns the tide of a conversation, when we respond with a smile to a person headed straight to the land of rude. It changes the tone of meetings, when we insert a joke onto the table where everyone else has decided to take matters too seriously. It changes what we say about recessions, when we insert a fact, quietly, about how white families have a dollar for every dime black families have in accumulated wealth.
How do we say something like that with gentleness? We say it quietly, softly, and slowly. We acknowledge every time we complain about how the recession is hitting us that it has hit others longer and harder. What is gentle about such truth? It takes the long view. It depersonalizes. Gentleness is wisdom from on high. We are allowed to bring it down to earth.
Spirit of Gentleness, tenderness and grace, grant us a divine tone to our speech. Let it be gentle, wise and real. Amen.
About the Author
Donna Schaper is the Senior Minister of Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her most recent book is Sacred Chow: a Guide to Holy Eating
Live simply. Love generously.
Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.
“The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the strangers; [the Lord] upholds the orphan and the widow.”
– Psalm 146:7-9
“I trace the rainbow through the rain and see the promise is not in vain.”
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