Here are five affirmations that seek to point towards a description of the gentle kingdom of Jesus.

In Jesus’ gentle kingdom:

  1. I will trust and respect your integrity and good will.

I do not know the inside workings of your life. Probably they are almost as much a mystery to you as they are to me. But, I choose to trust that your intention is to do what you believe is best. As long as your actions are not obviously and unnecessarily harmful, I choose to respect that your choices are made in tune with what you believe is an authentic expression of your true humanity.

  1. I will seek, to the best of my ability, to listen deeply to what is really true.

To be gentle is to stop, stand still, be patient, and wait for what is true to emerge. Quick fix answers are seldom gentle. Easy answers almost always bring violence. The more I take time to listen deeply, the more I am able to act in response to the realities of the situation as they are, rather than some fantasy analysis of my own creation.

  1. I will risk allowing my own vulnerability to be seen.

It is hard to allow my vulnerability to be seen. Vulnerability feels like weakness. At all costs, I want to be seen to be strong, capable, and in control. But gentleness emerges when I am determined to live within the circumstances of life as they are rather than as I might like them to be. And the reality is that I am not all that strong, or capable; I am seldom in control of the circumstances of life. Gentleness finds strength in acknowledging the reality of my own vulnerability and limitations. This is why humility is the partner of gentleness.

  1. I will surrender my determination to control life.

Surrendering control is not giving up anything I actually possess. I am not in control anyway. The belief in my control over the forces of life is a great and harmful illusion. Gentleness is closely aligned to honesty. And honesty never pretends to a power it knows it does not possess. To be gentle is step out of the power game and give up the illusion that I am in charge at all.

  1. I will seek to soften to God’s gentle Spirit.

When he described himself Jesus said,

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me;
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:29). 

The Spirit of Jesus is a spirit of gentleness and humility. The Spirit of Jesus leads to a place where I experience a “yoke” that is “easy” and a “burden” that is “light.”

When I find myself struggling against a difficult “yoke” and feeling broken by a heavy “burden,” it is not the gentle Spirit of Jesus that is guiding my life. In order to live in tune with Jesus’ gentle kingdom, I seek to soften and open to that gentle life-giving Spirit that is the Spirit of Jesus. He desires to cause me to

lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
   he restores my soul. (Psalm 23:2,3) 

This gentle vision is a vision of the true nature of the power that resides at the heart of the universe and that was embodied in the person of Jesus. This is the power of King Jesus. It is a power that is “not from this world.” This world has a hard time discerning the gentle power of Jesus.

But, when I live in tune with this power of gentleness, I am restored. My soul is refreshed; my heart is made new. I become the Good News of Jesus’ loving and living presence. I become an instrument of the true kingdom that was embodied in an infant born as an outcast in a stable.