👩🏾🦱 REE: Hey everybody! Welcome back to the PSALMS to God podcast! Today I have another guest with me, and this time I am back to inviting family to the podcast. This person is really important, and I'm really excited to have them on the podcast, because they have been extremely influential in my life; and you can thank them or blame them—depending on how you feel about the podcast—for me actually having a podcast. So this is my cousin Val. Obviously because she's my cousin, I've known her forever! She's known me before I knew her. She was actually my teacher in elementary school, She was my keyboarding teacher—so you can also thank her for me being a computer scientist, because that's kind of the foundation of working with computers. And then when I got older, she became the Bible study/youth ministry person at the church. She started our youth ministry program, and that's where I learned that I could read the Bible and study it for myself—so that's how I ended up here with this podcast! And now, she does a lot of things with the youth. She is a pastor, and it only seems right to have her on the podcast. So welcome to the podcast, Val!
👩🏾 VAL: Thank you! Hello, hello, hello! I am so glad and excited to be here, and I am truly humbled by all that you have said. Oh, my heart is melting. I am so very, very proud of you, though. I tell you. I couldn't even begin to take any credit; I give it all to God, because you are truly powerful, and I thank God that you are such the world changer that you are. So I thank you, because you inspire me to want to be better and do better.
👩🏾🦱 REE: Oh man. Circular... Circular inspiration! That's how Christian Fellowship is supposed to work.
👩🏾 VAL: Cool. So True. Now can we pass that on to the World?
👩🏾🦱 REE: Yes. So, since I started doing the podcast, I’ve been doing a series on the Fruit of the Spirit, because I feel like I believe we focus on loving God, and you know believing and all of that stuff, but we don't really think about how that should be changing us as a person, and how that should be reflecting in our everyday life. And I realized that a lot of the Fruit of the Spirit, I don't actually sit down and think about what it means or how it's applied to life. And so I started from the first Fruit of the Spirit—they're all listed in Galatians 5 starting in verse 22—and I've been working my way through. And now we're at gentleness.
👩🏾 VAL: Nice!
👩🏾🦱 REE: And when I started looking at gentleness, I was a little shook, because when I first read the word, I was like, “Gentleness?” I was like I don’t think I know anybody that I would describe as gentle.
👩🏾 VAL: And I don’t know how you called me on this.
👩🏾🦱 REE: I was talking to my parents, and I was like, “Nobody in our family is gentle!” We some blunt, short tempered—
👩🏾 VAL: Uh huh
👩🏾🦱 REE: I started to get worried. I was like, “I don’t have this fruit.” Not only do I not have this, I don't know who to call!
👩🏾 VAL: And again, you called who? I’m sure I was not your first thought.
👩🏾🦱 REE: The deeper I got into it, I actually surprised myself. So I wanted to start... This one is actually going to be a little bit closer to a word association than the other ones, because I really wanted to get out what it actually means to be gentle.
👩🏾 VAL: Good.
👩🏾🦱 REE: So when you hear the word gentle, what do you think?
👩🏾 VAL: Oh wow. When I hear the word gentle, I think not of me. I’d probably go with what you said earlier about “Oh wow. Hold on. That does not explain... It doesn't really relate to us. But…” Yeah, but when I think of the word gentle, I usually think of someone who may be meek and a little less laid back than myself. But I also think about how when an individual is actually gentle, it could cause a person to actually be drawn more to you. So when I think about gentle, I don’t think about me.
👩🏾🦱 REE: Yeah. I started writing down things... One of the things I wrote was not blunt, which like I said, I feel like everybody in our family is blunt.
👩🏾 VAL: Right, right.
👩🏾🦱 REE: You know, I wrote down, like, selfless, giving without expectation, showing compassion, able to deal with like fragile situations; I wrote down comforting, soothing, easygoing—
👩🏾 VAL: Oooh I like those.
👩🏾🦱 REE: And then I looked it up online, and somebody wrote down “humble, polite, and restrained behavior. And I was like “Yeah… That's kind of what I think about when I think about gentleness!”
👩🏾 VAL: OK. OK.
Who is Gentle? (00:06:51)
👩🏾🦱 REE: So then I was like, so who? I can't think of a person, like a person I know.
👩🏾 VAL: Yeah, we can only call Jesus. I’m sorry.
👩🏾🦱 REE: So I was like, who in the Bible did they describe as gentle? And of course they described Jesus as gentle. And so I started looking at these verses, and you know there's a verse where Paul says that he comes to people with the gentleness of Christ. I was like, “Yeah, Jesus was gentle!” But then I remembered, Jesus threw the money changers out the temple—
👩🏾 VAL: Uh oh. You’re about to get serious now. Now it gets deep.
👩🏾🦱 REE: Yeah… and I was like, so gentle doesn't mean that you're a pushover; it doesn't mean that you never speak up, and it doesn't mean you're weak.
👩🏾 VAL: Right. Right. And if it's saying the word gentle, considering that Strong's: it's talking about χρηστότης (chréstotés), which means usefulness. Then if he's turning over the tables, then he's doing it for our good, for their good, and it was useful, because it was a message that even now, we could benefit from—in terms of what's supposed to happen at church. But when people talk about Jesus, and they say “Oh well He was so meek and mild—
👩🏾🦱 REE: Jesus had some comebacks.
👩🏾 VAL: Thank you! Like we'll sit on the same side of the fence and we can really go all day on that one, because I think people fail to see—which is why we lose so many people in church, because when reality sets in, it's like we lied to people. Because yes He was gentle, but on the same token, I think it all has to do with what the situation calls for.
👩🏾🦱 REE: Yes. Um, I'm going to continue that thought, but before that I'm going to insert, because you mentioned χρηστότης (chréstotés) which is the Greek word that is used in the original. It’s actually there in the original translation of the Septuagint and in the New Testament where gentleness is used as the Fruit of the Spirit. And in some translation it says kindness. And then, I also looked up in Hebrew, for if you're looking to the Old Testament, there's the word chesed—I’m probably pronouncing this wrong; sidenote: I'm learning Hebrew, so bear with me on that—
👩🏾 VAL: You did that
👩🏾🦱 REE: But that's the word that is used in the Old Testament. But back on the situation, so another person that I thought about from the Bible that is also actually gentle that you would not think about is David. We think of David as being a warrior; he slayed Goliath. He was out there doing battle, and he was you know kicking butt and taking names. But when Saul cracked up, and you know, had his possession with these demonic spirits, it was David playing the harp that soothed him. David had the gentle hand to soothe him. And David also, when Saul turned and tried to kill David, David didn't kill Saul. He just kept, you know, moving from place to place to avoid Saul. So even though he was a warrior, he was actually gentle.
👩🏾 VAL: Exactly. And also, I like the fact that you brought David up, and you said the very first thing that you said about him, in terms of what he could have done. Because that spoke volume. Because had the wherewithal, he had the ability to take Saul, but he chose not to. I love the fact that you chose him, because gentleness quite naturally has to be the Fruit the Spirit for him to be able to actually with hold what he had, because that type of disdain... I'm sorry, if you're trying to kill me and I choose—
👩🏾🦱 REE: Right!?
👩🏾 VAL: OK, but he chose to move from place to place; that's only having God in you.
👩🏾🦱 REE: Yes, and there's a verse I wrote down... James 3:17. It talks about how gentleness comes from God. Obviously, we know if it's a Fruit of the Spirit, you have to get it from the Holy Spirit, but that verse reiterates like you can't do that on your own.
👩🏾 VAL: Exactly. Exactly.
👩🏾🦱 REE: You can't make that kind of decision on your own.
👩🏾 VAL: That takes a little more wisdom than our own.
👩🏾🦱 REE: Yes.
👩🏾 VAL: And strength.
👩🏾🦱 REE: And so, you know, after I thought about Jesus, and I thought about David, and how they... You know they had these gentle moments, but they also had these moments where they were you know they were just real. I started to realize that it's more about how you handle certain situations. So another example from Jesus that popped into my head is when he talks to the Samaritan woman. I mean he's basically reading her, ‘cause he's telling her, you know, “You done had 5 husbands,” and all this stuff.He put it all out there. He didn't sugarcoat it; He didn't like dress it up, but He approached her in private.
👩🏾 VAL: Right. Right.
👩🏾🦱 REE: I wrote down that gentleness is that you feel loved in the process of being told, because what happened is he told her exactly what the deal was, but at the end of it she repented. Because she felt loved in what He was expressing. So that it's a way of being able to tell the truth, in love.
👩🏾 VAL: Right Right. You know that I think that's what's actually missing, not just... And I speak a lot about what I feel about the Church, when I say the Church I mean the Church as a whole, in terms of the Church and the institution. But ultimately that's across the board, though. Because even in places that, where you have employers, when you have employers who are dealing with employees, you have to have that level of gentleness. Because if not, you will lose respect for those individuals, quickly. When you're saying, “Well I need you to do so and so,” but if you're saying that you need someone to do something, and you say that, and then you have a harshness in your voice (as opposed to a gentleness), you will get something done a whole lot quicker with the gentleness as opposed to the harshness.
👩🏾🦱 REE: Yeah. You catch more flies with sugar and honey than with vinegar.
👩🏾 VAL: Exactly! I think that’s why this podcast is so important, especially to—not just to believers, but also for a lot of younger people, because for a lot of younger people it gives understanding, as to, you know, being a little more tolerant. Because I think both sides; intergenerational we could use more tolerance and more resilience.
Life Experiences (00:14:38)
👩🏾🦱 REE: Yeah. With all of that in mind, I revisited this question of knowing people who are gentle, and I started thinking more about how people approach situations, and how people handle specific situations. And the first situation that popped up into my head is from elementary school. I can't remember if I was in 4th or 5th grade, because I'm getting old, and that was a long time ago.
👩🏾 VAL: And she’s nowhere near my age. Thanks, Ree.
👩🏾🦱 REE: But, I was either in 4th or 5th grade, and they were having a play at the school. And I tried out for the play with all my friends. Everyone that I was friends with made the play, like they all got a part in the play, but I did not. I don't even know, like I’ve never had goals to be like an actress or anything like that. That's never been my thing, but I think at the time, I just felt left out, because you know in elementary school—and even in middle school and high school—friendship is kind of based on... It’s just being in the same place at the same time, you know? My friend group typically changed based on what class I was in—’cause we had lunch together, we had recess together. And then as I got high school, most of my friends were in band, because we were always together and things like that. So when all my friends were in this play, and I realized that I wasn't going to be in the play. It’s like OK, so you guys are going to be at the play practice and the rehearsals, and then I'm not going to be there. So when I do see you, I'm going to be like a third wheel, because you're going to be talking about this play all the time that I'm not involved in.
👩🏾🦱 REE: And so I think... You know and of course, like at that age, you just feel like the world is ending—like you ain't never going to have no more friends, it's horrible, like you're a failure. I don't know why, but you just, everything hits you so much harder when you're younger.
👩🏾🦱 REE: And I remember, we must have found out like who made the list and everything right before lunch. So we go to lunch, and we're in the cafeteria. We’re standing in line waiting to get food, and I bent down to tie my shoe. And I think when I bent down to tie my shoe, all of this just kind of hit me. And I did not want to get up. Like I'm basically tying my shoe forever, like about to cry. Just in my feelings about the fact that I have not made this play.
👩🏾🦱 REE: And I don't know if you remember, ‘cause you sound like you don't know where the story is going. but...
👩🏾 VAL: No but actually, believe it or not, a lot of things slide pass my memory. Not that I don’t want to remember it, but it hurts my heart to hear it.
👩🏾🦱 REE: So, there are I am, in the cafeteria, tying my shoe for way too long, not getting up, and there's a teacher, who comes out of the computer room.
👩🏾 VAL: Huh? Which was my room?
👩🏾🦱 REE: Yeah! It was you! You came out of the computer room and you saw me there tying my shoe for forever, and you came and got me out of line to ask me what was going on, and what was wrong.
👩🏾 VAL: Oh my God! Are you serious?
👩🏾🦱 REE: Yeah. And you're the one who told me that the world wasn’t ending because I wasn't in this play.
👩🏾 VAL: God look at you! Jesus! Whoo, thank You, Jesus.
👩🏾🦱 REE: And I remember I was like... I was like, “Yeah in that moment, you knew exactly what to say.” I don't remember exactly what you said, but I know that you said something that made me feel better about the situation. Like in that moment, you know, you didn’t can come out and be like “Haha, you didn't make it.” But you, like you came and you were like “OK, I'm going to take you, and I'm going to talk to you.”
👩🏾🦱 REE: And you know for those who are listening, I have a cousin that is the same age as me. We're both cousin. It’s her niece. And so we were in the same class and she was one of my friends that actually made it into the play.
👩🏾 VAL: Oh no!
👩🏾🦱 REE: Yeah, so when you walked up, you know, everyone was celebrating, and she was saying like “Yay, I'm in the play!” and I'm just like on the ground, like trying not to cry, and so like in that moment you knew that I needed attention. And I'm sure like afterward you came back to congratulate everybody, but I was thinking about that and I was like that is a characteristic of gentleness.
👩🏾 VAL: Oh my Gosh! you just really, really, really, just made my day. I’m still hurt by that, but you know that the irony is that for you to tell me that, you have really just taught me something. And I'm thinking about me as if it weren't even me that did that, if it makes sense. I'm thinking about that person that actually did that, and it's like, when I think back to when you were in the fourth or fifth grade, like that was when I was first moving back down here. So many things were happening in my life during that time, and to hear you say this. And I’m so full, because I’m like “God, I thank You. That You never, you know, allowed me to get so focused on myself, that I forget to do, or neglect to do, what is necessary, even in those times. You know what I mean? Because, if anybody only knew the level of turmoil that I had actually been going through about that time, now—leaving Philadelphia, which you know the money that I made, and you know my cost of living. Everything was pretty good there. I could have been doing better, but I mean my skills were, you know, getting up there. I was, really... It was like a come up. And so, when I came back, I was trying to get back to that place I was there, which it just seemed like it was a mountain to climb. But to hear this story, now. It’s just… Oh my gosh, it's like so unbelievable. And then for me to like not particularly remember it, I’m humbled. You know what I mean? Believe it or not yeah. I thank God for you, and I thank God that He allowed that situation to happened.
👩🏾🦱 REE: Yeah, I mean every moment is a moment to learn.
👩🏾 VAL: Amen! Oh my gosh, you are so right.
👩🏾🦱 REE: After I thought about that, I remember, of course time passed, and when we got into our teen years and you started, you know, the Bible study... You know, I distinctly remember there being push back. You know any time there's change, people in the church get a lil’ concerned, and they don't necessarily like these ideas.
👩🏾 VAL: Right.
👩🏾🦱 REE: And you know, I'm sure we didn't make it easier. Just to give the listeners some background, the church that I grew up in, we are basically all related. So, not only do you have church drama, you have family drama, as well.
👩🏾 VAL: So True.
👩🏾🦱 REE: So we were all about the same age, and we're all like cousins, and we're teenagers... So, we had our dramas and everything. And I remember like we used to have our little rifts or whatever and you would basically have to play like mediator in Bible study.
👩🏾 VAL: Yes. And we were like pretty much close family.
👩🏾🦱 REE: Yeah
👩🏾 VAL: Like how do you do this?
👩🏾🦱 REE: But I remember, like we loved going to Bible study. Earlier in the episode, you were talking about gentleness draws people to you, and I was like “Yeah! I’m glad she said that,” because we loved going to Bible study. And even when I stopped going to that particular church, I used to still come to Bible study.
👩🏾 VAL: I remember some too.
👩🏾🦱 REE: If my memory is serving me correctly, when you left—so you know, she got married and then she and her husband went to her husband’s church; her husband is also a pastor, and so they left. And if I remember correctly, I think pretty much everybody stopped going to that church after you left.
👩🏾 VAL: Oh wow. I’m surprised God still loves me.
👩🏾🦱 REE: But I was like yeah there is definitely a gentleness there, even though it's not what we typically think of as gentle; it’s not the first thing that comes to our mind, but like the feeling is there.
👩🏾 VAL: Awww
👩🏾🦱 REE: So I was like I gotta cal Val because it just makes sense to call Val to talk about gentleness.
👩🏾 VAL: Wow! I don’t know if Wally would agree with that. My husband would be like “what?”
👩🏾🦱 REE: Well, tell him to listen to the episode!
Youth Ministry (00:24:20)
👩🏾 VAL: Yeah right? Yeah, you can teach him. You know it’s funny also that you mentioned about the closeness of everyone, because there was something that RaSha’d said to me like a long time ago. And now listening to you say that, it was like again, I’m humbled by all that. But now you know when you look back on things you pretty much want to tell God thank You for… You be like, “Yes! I’m glad I handled that right.” He was mentioning something about... We were talking about youth ministry, and he said “yeah you know there were times where even though I was your son, I felt like everybody else got better treatment.” I was like well it’s kind of like when you're in a classroom, and nobody should ever give their own child preferential treatment.
👩🏾🦱 REE: Yeah, now that you mention it, I do feel like you treated everybody the same. Like it... like I definitely feel like if he did something, you know you was going to call him out for it. And I feel like, like I said, we're all cousins and because I was basically growing up an only child at the time, when I think about it these were like my siblings. And I mean that's how it felt, like we were all just siblings. You know like, I said this is a small family church. It’s the South. Everybody had permission to beat us. Like I felt like if you acted a certain way, she might come ‘cross the table on you, and the probability was just as high for him as it was for anybody else.
👩🏾 VAL: Or as he would put it: or worse. Exactly though.
👩🏾🦱 REE: But you know, that's what made it feel like home.
👩🏾 VAL: Right, you kind of miss those days though.
👩🏾🦱 REE: Yes. Yeah, yeah. Now that I'm older and I'm trying to teach youth, I’m like “Oooo weee. How she did that?”
👩🏾 VAL: You have it. You got it. I already know that you got it. Everybody says, “Shiree’s just like Val.” So I’m like OK, you need to own it. In that sense.
Gentleness in Every Season (00:26:34)
👩🏾🦱 REE: Had a couple of questions that are for you, more so as a youth leader and as a pastor, and also you know as a parent. ‘Cause you know your walk with Christ changes in each season of your life. You know, you have your season when you're a baby, when you're a teenager, when you're a young believer. And then I've noticed like now that I'm a young adult, things mean different things and I'm starting to learn more. And I assume you know, should God bless me with a husband, things will change once, you know, I transition into married life; and if I have a child, I assume things would change even more as a parent. Since I can only provide the perspective of the young and the single. I was like let me ask Val some questions about gentleness as we grow.
Gentleness as a Pastor (00:27:23)
👩🏾🦱 REE: The first question that I wanted to ask is as a pastor, how do you deliver the Word of God gently? Like we talked about how Jesus pulled the Samaritan lady to the side—like He met with her in private, to tell her about herself. And I feel like, when you listen to pastors, you have the pastors who are up there just giving you a feel good sermon, and they ain’t really telling you like it is. They just telling you something to make you clap your hands and shout amen. But then you have the pastors that have people kind of like scared to come into the church, ‘cause you know they might be just stepping over the bounds just a little. And like you kind of want to be in the middle, where it's like you're telling the truth but in a way that people will repent and do better.
👩🏾 VAL: Right, right,
👩🏾🦱 REE: And so like how have you been navigating that?
👩🏾 VAL: Oh my goodness. That’s interesting that you would ask that. But a very long time ago, God was very specific with me. I’m kind of shocked that I was called into the ministry; I was really shocked. Because one I do not like talking in front of a lot of people. Two, I definitely don't like standing in front of people. Three, I don't like people looking at me—
👩🏾🦱 REE: You sound like Moses right now.
👩🏾 VAL: Oh my gosh! You would have to say that as I’m sitting here with Exodus open in my Bible. Yeah, believe it or not, one of my life verses is about Moses actually. But, essentially what God really said to me, and he was very specific about it, was the verse where he talks about don't be afraid of men and their faces. I’m one that… It’s pretty, like you said, it’s profound, actually because they're there were seasons in my life where I just could not say anything. And I just I'm really grateful for Him because those are the seasons where He preserved me. And the reason why I say that was because how I would deliver that type of message would be based upon Him. And so, God knows what you need when you need it. Like I'm not one that would say that I'm all out for topical sermons in terms of you know okay for the next two months we're going to just, you know, preach about this, because I just—I mean I love structure, don't get me wrong. But I'm one that I really believe that whatever God has for an individual is what He has for them. And so when He's giving it, you want to be careful to say what He says. And when I heard those words, and I hear them often, where He’s literally saying to me, “You say what I say.” People have, you know, pretty much tried to make me feel like, you know, you have to do this, and you have to do that. People even try to give you a message. And even though I don’t preach every Sunday, I go whenever I'm called to preach, however wherever I’m called to, I’m careful—making sure that I'm hearing from God and not from people.
👩🏾 VAL: And so, in order for me to deliver that message the way that He would have me to deliver it… Number one, I know that God would not humiliate people; that's not being gentle.
👩🏾🦱 REE: Exactly.
👩🏾 VAL: I know that He would give you a word, just like you stated earlier with Jesus. He put it out there, but He was careful how He put it out there. Remember when she came to, when the woman was at the well, she came at a time of day where there wasn't a whole lot of people there—
👩🏾🦱 REE: And he knew that!
👩🏾 VAL: Exactly! Because Jesus was strategic that way. It was like, because He was led by God Himself, He knew when to go and when not to go, where to be and where not to be. You see what I’m saying?
👩🏾🦱 REE: Yes! And He sent the disciples off so that it would just be the two of them.
👩🏾 VAL: Exactly! And so, believe it or not, that's how I live my life now. And when I say I live my life now is like that, you know that I left the school district. During that season that I was leaving the district I was making the decision: OK, do I go full-time with this nonprofit? Which more or less is pretty much... It looks … It kind of resembles the church; it kind of resembles what God is calling for the Church to do, in terms of social justice and in terms of making sure the people aren’t oppressed. And so essentially during that time frame, a lot happened again, you know what I mean? I’m just one that God let stuff happen. I be—as everyone always says, I’m always innocent, but as He's allowing things to happen, all I’ve learned to do is accept what He allows. Because I know that he's allowing it for a purpose, and so if Satan comes for me, obviously God has already given me the tools to deal with what he has coming. 👩🏾 VAL: And so, just in this past few seasons in terms of, you know, how I say things and what I say to people, I literally was at a point where I really did not preach many messages. I did more speaking to people directly. And so God had me in a season, where as He was preparing me for my next level and my next season, He was also doing something in terms of shielding me. So when I say that I trust God, when I can't trace Him, that's why; because He will always give you a hedge of protection. Like He will have it so that people will not call you to preach. People will not… And you know they may think they’re doing it to harm you, or they may think you know, “We don’t want to hear from her right now;” well that’s fine. Because I know that God has you in a holding pattern for a reason, and so when he shielding you and putting you in that holding pattern, you have to be able to hear from Him for what He's going to do for His people. Anything that happens in your life is not for you. Your anointing was never meant to be for you. Any words that God gives me to speak to people, no matter where I am, whether I’m in the pulpit or not in the pulpit, I have to give it to people the way that God says it. And that means that I won't do it in a way that is offensive to them and cause them not to come into the fold. That's what's missing. If you do not deliver this the way that God will have you to deliver it, you are ultimately causing individuals to lose out on what God so freely gave to us. If I give a gift, you would offend me if you don't take that gift. God gave us a gift. When He allowed His Son to die on that cross, He gave us a gift, and that gift was for the body. And so because that gift was for the body, who are we to cause anybody to be denied of that gift. So I can't let my harsh words cost someone salvation; it’s not mine to give. And they're not my people.They're God's people, and when it comes to souls, we are called to save souls, we're called to bring souls to Christ. God does the saving. He said one plants, one waters, but I'll provide the increase. And so if you see that there is a decrease in the Church, it's because somebody denied somebody of the water that was necessary. There's a thirst and a hunger for righteousness, but not when you see people that are being rude, and mean, and obnoxious from the pulpit, and being Bible toting bullies.
👩🏾🦱 REE: That was a great answer. You over there preaching a word!
👩🏾 VAL: Uh oh. Ok, let me pass the hat.
Gentleness as a Parent (00:36:03)
👩🏾🦱 REE: And then, the other question I had was, how do you feel like being a parent has affected your ability to deliver things gently? Because you know I think God gives us the roles of parenting so that we also understand His predicament, because He's the Father and that's our parallel. And I was wondering, obviously God is the originator of gentleness, and like I said, I'm not a parent, but I know that when I was a kid, I might have said and done some things that probably made my mama want to snatch my life back. And so I can only imagine... I was just wondering how that impacted your ability to deliver things gently.
👩🏾 VAL: Wow. You know, God really does have a sense of humor. It’s so interesting that I wasn’t called into the ministry until he was old enough to be away. But that’s so interesting that you would ask that, because you know that once we got married, we had to raise our son who is actually not my biological child, but yet still, we couldn't necessarily show that. And so in terms of gentleness, and being parent… Being a parent number one, is by far one of the greatest gifts that, you know, anyone could have. However it also comes with challenging times, and because it comes with challenging times, parents have the unique responsibility of making sure that they're in the face of God all the times. Because without having His loving-kindness, you could really have a very, very difficult household. You need God because first of all when husband and wife are coming together, you are kind of like soldering two different personalities, because they have to merge. And so in order those two to become one, they have to come into alignment, they have to come into agreement. And so bringing a third individual into that ultimately means that there will be a cause for a lot of submission. Because that child is going to be the embodiment of what happens in that home, and so because of your example, it is imperative that we remember as parents that those little people grow up to be big people. And so we can either make them as little people, or we can break them as little people.
👩🏾 VAL: Ultimately, I think that what it would call for is for you to have a genuine relationship with God, because even when you were talking about the scenario about when you were tying your shoe, I had to know that there was another individual there besides those students, and the mother in another individual should be the one that would actually go to you. There should never be a time when an individual is going through on their own, whether you're a child or an adult, because we're here to bear each other's burdens. And when we look for comfort, we can't be so caught up in ourselves that we don't see another person hurting. And so compassion is one that God has given us as a gift. He’s given us a spirit of compassion, so who are we not to share it with others?
👩🏾🦱 REE: Yeah! So one of the things, after I was going through all that and I was like, “Yeah. Yeah this is cool,” I realized I had looked up gentleness as a Hebrew word and as a Greek word, but I didn’t actually look it up as an English word, and so I finally got around to looking up the English definition.
👩🏾 VAL: I thought you were about to say Aramaic. I was like oh gosh, whoa!
👩🏾🦱 REE: No. I'm not that good, yet! But when I looked up the English dictionary version, I ended up looking it up in Merriam Webster and I found something that blew my mind. So the very first definition of gentle as an adjectives is belonging to a family of high social standing. You know for the first time I understood the word “gentleman,” because you know they have the word gentleman. I always thought it just meant, you know, he's not a thug, but the way that word actually came into being is that these were men who were from families of high social standing. And what really blew my mind with that being the very first definition is the only way you can receive the Fruit of the Spirit is that you have accepted Christ, you've accepted the Holy Spirit. That means you have surrendered to God, which means He has adopted you as a son or daughter, which means you are a child of the Most High; which means you belong to a family of high social standing.
👩🏾 VAL: Wow! Look at God! We’re royalty!
👩🏾🦱 REE: And I just like “Oh!” I mean if you keep reading the definition, it gets down to like you know delicate and kind, amiable, things like that, but it it mainly focuses on, you know, there are multiple places where it talks about high social standing. And I often wonder because I went back and looked, and there's actually another Fruit of the Spirit that is kindness, which is closely related to gentleness. And I was like I wonder if when he said gentleness, when they first you know translated the Bible into English, and translated you know that word to gentle, I wonder if they actually meant this first definition, that just by nature of accepting the gift that God gave us, we now belong with family of high social standing—and of course with that comes responsibilities.
👩🏾 VAL: Right. Right. Interesting!
👩🏾🦱 REE: Yeah, that was like my mindblower. Like whoa! I was like, this is what happens when you actually look words up in the dictionary. Finding out words I've been using my whole life don’t mean what I thought they meant.
👩🏾 VAL: You know what? Believe it or not, word studies are probably my favorite, because like when I started going to BSF, that was one of the things that—oh, Bible Study Fellowship—that was one of the things that actually drew me to that. Because they were so in depth, and because of the fact that they literally will teach you things like homiletics and hermeneutics and would give you that push, just to make you just say ”OK, wait I want to know this. I want to know more.” God is so awesome. When we tell people, “Well, make sure you read The Word,” I feel like we do people an injustice, because we don't explain to them what that actually means to read The Word. Because when you talk to anybody, they almost have the same conversation or response: like “I do, but I puts me to sleep.” And I'm just like wait, but The Word of God is like full, and—
👩🏾🦱 REE: Rich!
👩🏾 VAL: Yeah, I'm like I can go and look up one thing, and before I know it, I'm just sitting there like finding something else and going to something else. Like I just can't stop. You know what I mean? Ee always talked about how when you accept Christ, that when you're reading The Word, that God is actually coming into alignment with His Son and that that connection and that relationship; it's so empowered, and it fills us. And so I'm like “No, I don't want to go to sleep. I want more! That would wake you up.”
Wrap Up (00:45:15)
👩🏾🦱 REE: Did you have any final thoughts on gentleness that you wanted to share with the listeners?
👩🏾 VAL: I like what you said earlier about James 3, and if I can go back to James 3 with you in terms of James 3:17, wherein it said: “ But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” That is so profound.
👩🏾🦱 REE: Yes.
👩🏾 VAL: Oh my goodness that is so major.
👩🏾🦱 REE: I feel like this Bible verse—I mean no shade in the Bible verse that is up in the church that I grew up in. It's a great verse— but I feel like this Bible verse should be hung on every wall in every Church.
👩🏾 VAL: Yes! When we actually think about His goodness and then we we turn around and come in contact with other individuals, how could we even say that we are His children if we don't do these things, in terms of the Fruit of the Spirit, and if we don’t pay homage to that particular verse? We need that! I’m sorry, but that verse was like a mind blower and you know everything you know goes back to interpretation for different stages in life. You know what I mean? I think that’s one that we could possibly say, you know, that God does give wisdom. And even with this that particular verse that He’s pretty much like laying it on the line. You know that goes hand-in-hand with Fruit of the Spirit, because it goes on to say that again pure, friendly, gentle. OK? Sensible, kind, genuine and sincere. But you know what I mean?
👩🏾🦱 REE: You gotta have all of it!
👩🏾 VAL: Exactly! And if we don't do that as the body, ultimately it’s going to be a sad day trying to get people to come to Christ. I mean the Bridegroom is looking for His bride.
👩🏾 VAL: This is great! I love it!
👩🏾🦱 REE: Thank you so much for coming on the podcast!
👩🏾 VAL: Thank you. Oh my goodness, I’ve had enough church just right now. I’m so full!
👩🏾🦱 REE: Alright guys, thank you for tuning in. I hope this was helpful for you guys and beneficial, and that we all know more about what gentleness actually means and how to apply it to our day-to-day lives. As always, citations and transcripts will be in the show notes at www.psalmstogod.com/gentleness. Don't forget to like and subscribe! And I will see you guys next time.
References and Footnotes
- “The Fruit of the Holy Spirit—what is gentleness?”. GotQuestions.org; visited May 2019
- 2 Corinthians 10:1
- Matthew 21:12-13
- “Strong’s 5544. chréstotés”. BibleHub.com; visited September 2022
- I got tongue-tied trying to say it’s the word in Galatians 5:22 that is translated to kindness
- “Strong’s 2617a. chesed.” BibleHub.com; visited September 2022
- John 4
- Clarification: my cousin who is the same age as me is Val’s niece. (Val’s mother is my Aunt)
- So not only were we closely related, we also lived in close proximity to each other--like across the street from each other close.
- By everybody, I mean the youth
- RaSha’d is her son, my cousin, and fellow attendee of the Bible study.
- Exodus 4:10
- Jeremiah 1:8
- I mentioned in an earlier episode that half of my family is Baptist and half is Methodist; so aside from me, no one in the family keeps Sabbath
- How we look to God, that is
- ”gentle”. Merriam Webster; visited May 2019
- 2 Corinthians 6:18