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Yesterday during the sermon time, I used the word “gentleness” to translate the Greek word εὔσπλαγχνος (eusplagchnos) that appears in Ephesians 4:32 where the NRSV translates it as “tender-hearted”.

31Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31,32)

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What are the commitments that have the capacity to enable gentleness?

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The world most of us occupy most of the time is seldom a particularly gentle place. Gentleness is not a characteristic much valued in our culture. It frightens most people.

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What is it about Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” that makes it such a difficult film for some viewers? Why was it booed at Cannes? Why do I keep hearing of people who have paid their $10 and then walk out halfway through?
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We need to listen to the gentle voices.

We have listened too long to the harsh demanding voices. Hard words have dominated to much of our discourse.
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Jesus said two extraordinary things about violence. He said,

You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment and if you insult a brother or sister you will be liable to the council,; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire.’ (Matthew 5:21,22)

Jesus also said,

all who take the sword will perish by the sword. (Matthew 26:52)

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