Gentle Does Not Mean Weak

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Today’s Scripture: 1 Peter 3

According to a 1950s Home Economics book, a good wife should focus all her energy on creating a peaceful atmosphere for her husband after work by having dinner ready, refreshing her appearance, clearing away clutter, freshening up the children’s appearances, minimizing all noise, not complaining to him, making him comfortable with a comfy chair and a soothing voice, listening to him, and making the night all about him.

In 2019, we can confidently laugh at these and know that these were different times. (I think I have succeeded in doing the opposite of all of these at some point.) So when the Bible tells wives to have a gentle and quiet spirit, at first glance, it feels like we’ve been sent back in time to the 50s, a time that most of us can agree encouraged questionable standards for women.

1 Peter 3:3-4 (addressing wives)
3 Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 

In Barb Roose’s book Enough Already: Winning Your Ugly Struggle with Beauty she addresses this feeling by giving us a clearer definition of what is meant by gentle and quiet:

Gentleness: Maintaining a gracious attitude, friendly behavior, and humble character.

Quietness: Choosing to possess tranquility, respectfulness, and submissiveness over worry or rebelliousness.

Barb goes on to say, “Instead of thinking I needed to be a shy wallflower with no opinions, I discovered that God’s prescription for inner beauty was a mixture of qualities that would complement an energetic, demonstrative woman like me.”

God doesn’t only ask women to be gentle. Continuing into today’s reading, Peter tells all of us, “…if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way” (verses 15-16: addressing all Christians, emphasis added).

The most effective way to disciple others is to do so with a stance of humility. We are not being told to sit back, keep the peace, and avoid conflict at all costs. Instead, we are advised to speak truth into people’s lives from a place of love and respect, and we are to be prepared to do so at any time! You never know who is observing you, who is listening, and who could benefit from hearing your testimony.

Does a stance of gentility, respect, and quietness come naturally to you? Or is it more of a struggle? Where could you make some changes so that you may be more effective for God’s Kingdom?

Next Steps:
For women: I would highly recommend reading Barb Roose’s book Enough Already (linked above) and following the study that goes with it, Beautiful Already. She has great insight!

For men and women: Assess your preparedness to tell your testimony. Ask yourself, “Am I ready to tell someone about my faith?” Try writing down your faith story as a way to practice.

Dear God, I want to be gentle in how I approach others. I want to live in a way that makes people want to know where my joy comes from. Let my life be the proof of your love! Let my love look like you and what you’re made of! Help me to be humble, respectful, and kind in the way I share my faith with others. Thank you for loving me! Amen.

This post was written by Ashlee Grosjean. Ashlee is a stay-at-home mom and wife. She loves writing for this team, and she hopes to help convey God’s message through this study.

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1 reply
  1. Julie Buehrle Estep
    Julie Buehrle Estep says:

    Thanks Ashlee! I’ve had a lot of conversations with my friends about how to be a Godly wife, submissive, having a gentle and quiet spirit- without suppressing her own needs. The values you speak of were deeply ingrained in my generation. We still struggle with balance and expectation. I will look in to Barb’s study!

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