Why Clothe Ourselves With Mildness?
IT IS admired and appreciated. It helps us to avoid strife. It is often mistaken for weakness, but it has far greater strength than steel. That is mildness!
In the Bible, mildness is associated with humility, meekness. The Greek term for it denotes meekness, ‘mild and gentle friendliness; the opposite of roughness, bad temper, sudden anger, and brusqueness.’ Yet, mildness is more readily demonstrated by actions than defined by words.
But why clothe ourselves with mildness? And how can it help us?
Why So Important
Christians should display mildness because this pleases Jehovah God. The Bible counsels us to walk “with complete lowliness of mind and mildness.” Christian women are to put on “the incorruptible apparel of the quiet and mild spirit, which is of great value in the eyes of God.” (Ephesians 4:1-3; 1 Peter 3:3, 4) And the apostle Paul fittingly urges fellow believers: “As God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, clothe yourselves with the tender affections of compassion, kindness, lowliness of mind, mildness, and long-suffering.”—Colossians 3:12.
Being clothed with mildness is beneficial because this protective covering can shield us from harm. By being clothed with mildness when a potentially explosive situation develops, we may be able to defuse the anger of the offended person and achieve peace. Indeed, “an answer, when mild, turns away rage.” (Proverbs 15:1) Moreover, mildness helps us to cope with irksome everyday problems, relieves tense situations at work or in school, promotes peace and unity, and enables us to lead calmer, healthier, and happier lives. (Proverbs 14:30) So there are good reasons to clothe ourselves with mildness.
How It Can Be Done
Displaying mildness may seem difficult, but we can manifest this quality if that is our desire. Why? Well, for one thing, God created us in his image. (Genesis 1:26) Jehovah exemplifies mildness. His mildness is evident in the way he deals with sinful mankind. “He has not done to us even according to our sins; nor according to our errors has he brought upon us what we deserve.”—Psalm 103:10.
Mildness is part of the fruitage of God’s holy spirit. (Galatians 5:22, 23) If we sense a personal need for mildness, then, we can pray for the holy spirit that will help us to cultivate and display a mild attitude and manner.—Luke 11:13.
Since mildness is a product of God’s spirit, it is an essential feature of the Christian personality. In effect, it must be part of the clothing that identifies us as Christians. Yes, we can and should ‘clothe ourselves with mildness,’ an endowment from Jehovah resulting from his spirit and blessing.
Mildness Is Practical
Jesus Christ, who is firm for righteousness, nevertheless displays mildness. He pronounced mild-tempered ones happy. Jesus also taught the principle of ‘turning the other cheek,’ of not retaliating under provocation. (Matthew 5:5, 39; 21:5) Some say that this is impractical in today’s competitive world. But it is a mistake to conclude that Christian mildness denotes cowardice or weakness of personality. Such mildness is blended with strong faith, love for Jehovah, and appreciation for his righteous ways. Hence, it has great strength.
Throughout Biblical history, God-fearing men and women provided fine examples of mildness. For instance, “Moses was by far the meekest [the most mild-tempered] of all the men who were upon the surface of the ground.” (Numbers 12:3) But who would say that he had a weak personality or was a coward?
When contrasted with “the works of the flesh,” mildness proves superior. (Galatians 5:19-23) For example, mildness is practical when contrasted with uncontrolled anger. The Roman poet Horace observed: “Anger is momentary madness, so control your passion or it will control you.”
Acting “with a mildness that belongs to wisdom” means conducting ourselves in harmony with Jehovah’s personality, dealings, and ways. (James 3:13) For instance, a man who qualifies to teach fellow believers needs to be gentle, peaceful, and calm, not harsh, arrogant, and opinionated. (1 Timothy 1:6, 7; 2 Timothy 2:24, 25) But mildness can also be of great help to us in other aspects of life.
How Mildness Helps in Daily Life
Mildness can help us if problems should arise with neighbors. It worked for Cathy. During a picnic with some friends at her home, one of the children climbed up on a neighbor’s neat stack of firewood. The child tipped over part of the woodpile just as the neighbor was looking out his window. Infuriated, he charged outside, upbraiding the host family, the offending boy, and his parents. Instead of arguing, however, the hosts did what they could to allay their irate neighbor’s anger. They answered in mildness. The next day, Cathy baked bread for her family and made two extra loaves for the neighbor and his wife. Well, this gesture of human kindness, without a word about the incident that had been handled with mildness, was all that was needed to ease the tension and restore good relations.
It has been said that a good supervisor takes less than his share of the credit when things go right and more than his share of the blame when things go wrong. Don, who directs a construction crew, follows that mild policy. It works for him. On one occasion the supervisor of a construction project became upset because of the way something was built. He demanded: “Who is responsible for this?” Although another worker had not followed Don’s orders, Don answered: “It was my fault. I did not explain it clearly enough for my men to understand how it should be built.” On the other hand, when others praise Don for a construction job well done, he responds: “These men deserve the credit.” Because of Don’s mild manner and strength of personality, he is loved and respected by his superiors and his men.
These same principles apply when Jehovah’s Witnesses visit their neighbors while engaging in the field ministry. Some people do not appreciate these visits and may even become angry. Yet, mildness helps the visiting Witnesses to avoid imputing bad motives to the householders or judging them harshly. Although Jehovah’s Witnesses have good motives, did the call interrupt something the householder was enjoying? Did it wake him up? Mildness makes it possible to deal with such situations considerately.—1 Peter 3:15.
Similarly, if a person ‘takes a false step before he is aware of it,’ mildness helps Christian elders to maintain balance while counseling him. Their purpose is not to punish such a man but to “readjust” him, as when a doctor gently readjusts a bone that is out of joint. Indeed, those having spiritual qualifications must never forget that they should try to readjust the erring person “in a spirit of mildness.”—Galatians 6:1.
Continue Pursuing Mildness
The quality of mildness may be likened to soil in which other fruits of God’s spirit are more easily cultivated and maintained. If we are mild-tempered, we will readily yield to the guidance of Jehovah’s spirit. And if we display mildness, God will bless us, for he loves the meek and mild-tempered.—Isaiah 29:18-21; 61:1.
People flocked to Jesus because he was “mild-tempered and lowly in heart.” (Matthew 11:28, 29) That kind of disposition attracts honest-hearted people just as an inn with a glowing fireplace beckons weary travelers on a chilly night. A meek, mild person surely is a desirable associate. How fitting, then, that we pursue “mildness of temper”! (1 Timothy 6:11) Yes, let us clothe ourselves with mildness.
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Jesus Christ displayed mildness. Do you?