For many it is a frightening time in the work place. What seemed solid footing not that long ago has not become shifting sand and for the first time in a long time the loss of a job means that there is no prospect of employment any time soon. Companies are downsizing at a rate that does not show to be slowing. As I advise companies on how to go through this challenging and very difficult action, I remind them that the word “grace” should be top of mind as they plan and take action. In these most difficult of times we should also remember that being “gentle” with each other is a trait of one who is living to God’s purpose. We don’t hear that word much in the work place unless it is in the context of a caution prior to doing something that we already know will not be gentle in its delivery. Yet, we are called to be gentle in Colossians. Paul says, “Since God chose you to be the holy people whom He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness…”. For us to bring gentleness into the work place it demands that we have already tendered our heart to others and upped the empathy scale by multiples. If we are living within ourselves and our own agendas then we can never see or feel enough of another person to be gentle in our own behavior. It is ironic that many times the people we specify as being gentle are those whose physical characteristics would tend to be the opposite. We latch on to the bear-like person who is gentle in their nature. We don’t have to be bear-like to be gentle and we can be gentle in our everyday approach to work and still get the job done. The tone and level of our voices, a removal of abruptness, the lingering for a moment after the conversation to allow the other person to respond, the touch of a hand, these are all mannerisms that we can take on to be gentle in our approach. But, at the base level it returns to our attitude towards others and our internal spirit. Are we ready within ourselves to be gentle? Have we gotten ourselves to a point in our heart and mind that we can be like Jesus was with those that he interacted? If we can don gentleness as part of our working outfit we will better represent the example we want others to see. What better day than today to put on gentleness as part of your working clothes?
Reference: Colossians 3:12 (New Living Testament)