Now this: “OK,” she pondered, pulling a chair out for me. “So, we both know that this isn’t your best work. However… that’s OK. Making mistakes is the best way to learn and grow as an artist.” She had a concerned look but flashed a smile in between that set me at ease. “Let’s have a look for any good points about it and how you can take that forward, but let’s try to understand what has caused you to underperform this time so that you can come back stronger and smash the next one out of the park, OK?”
The scenarios both have the same message - the work was not of a good enough standard. But which would be more likely to motivate you in the future? Which one was more Christ-like? Which one was the more ‘gentle’?
Gentleness is not a trendy word these days. Our society often seems just the opposite: self-centred, uncaring, greedy. There is an unrelenting pressure on young people to be accepted and acceptable in order to avoid being trolled for putting any foot wrong - all things that provoke the opposite of gentleness.
God is gentle and as he gives us his Spirit he expects us to demonstrate gentleness too. Gentleness can be radical and powerful! Jesus died for his convictions and stuck to his message. Even on the cross he found something good to love in people - the other criminal next to him, the Roman soldiers, those who killed him. He loves us despite our sin. He has a gentle spirit.
- Go through the last day or so with your mentee: places, people, actions etc. Were they gentle?
- Are they gentle when they correct people? Do they listen, even if people are slow to understand or learn what they already know?
- How aware are they of hidden causes for people’s bad behaviour?
- What is the opposite of gentleness?
- How does it differ to kindness?
- How has God or others shown gentleness to them?
Form an action plan for being gentler. How can you have the right attitude to people and how can you check ungentle responses to people, situations and the selfish nature of the world?
Write some of these words down and discuss with your mentee whether any of these are impossible to do if you have a gentle spirit: sin, anger, gossip, love, stealing, murder, violence, selfishness, jealousy, hate, generosity, kindness, sharing, pleasing God, encouragement.
Read Philippians 2:1-4 with your mentee. Discuss what God’s character is like and how and why he wants us to have gentleness in our spirit, as he gives us his own Spirit.