Be gentle

I bought a Parker pen in the 1970s. At the time, the orange, black and gold version of that pen was the most popular product Parker sold. The design echoes their Doufold fountain pen of the 1920s. And that in turn is very similar to older pens that were common way before that.

I rediscovered that pen a couple of months ago while going through boxes. I updated it with a smoother Schneider ballpoint pen refill, and now I’m writing happily. (I enjoyed jotting a letter to my brother with it a few days ago.)

The lid and barrel are both made of plastic. If you screw them together too hard, the lid will crack and split open. The best way to keep this pen in good condition is to screw the lid gently until it doesn’t want to go any further.

Friendships, marriages, parenting, governing – all require gentleness. If we force our way in relationships, they will break. (However, force – or maybe quick protective action – is appropriate in some instances. When a parent sees their child reach toward a hot stove burner, quick force is the only way to go.)

“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” (Philippians 4:5, NIV)

I love how Paul states that gentleness is something that must be seen. Gentleness comes from the inside, but it’s made real through external actions and words.

In the New Living Translation, Paul’s thoughts are rendered this way: “Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do…”

Let’s be intentional in demonstrating gentleness today.

Paul Merrill writes here every First Friday.