‘Be faithful, loving, dependable and gentle’
We are so often informed of God’s characteristics and told to emulate them in order to become like God Himself. These particular characteristics can make you feel a little soft and vulnerable, possibly ready to be taken advantage of however this is clearly not the case. They definitely describe the way we should be towards ourselves- we should love ourselves, stick to our beliefs and code of conduct, be able to depend upon ourselves in all things and be gentle rather than too judgemental when reviewing our actions. If we really manage to do this we will treat others far better overall.
Which of the above characteristics apply most to you? Spend some time to think about this and remember, you may find that different characteristics match different situations! Some people are very dependable at work but not so much in their friends circle. We can be very loving towards our families yet caustic towards strangers- especially door to door salesmen for instance!
Gentle is an interesting characteristic and possibly describes the way in which we need to approach situations, keeping an open mind and being kind if constructive criticism is needed. Gentleness does not mean weakness, we can be firm but gentle. Envisage holding a baby- you definitely need to be firm whilst gentle or the baby is in danger of slipping; doesn’t bear thinking about! Adults benefit from being handled gently where our emotions are concerned whilst firmness helps us keep perspective and make any necessary changes. Without this we cannot grow.
The term faithful encompasses several different aspects. With faith comes loyalty and reliability, someone you can depend upon who will not let you down in any regard. Faith involves trust and belief. If someone is truly faithful you can trust them with your business, finance or your emotions knowing that they are on your side and will always do their best. Faithfulness and dependability go hand in hand with faith being primarily an emotional trait whereas dependability is often more physical. Of course, this is open to interpretation. People who are faithful and dependable will remain within the circle however if these qualities are lacking, they may find themselves on the outside of a group or relationship.
Fortunately for us, there is no outside with God provided we ask for forgiveness. He made us human and knows we will make serious errors of judgement in times of weakness. Let’s practice these four qualities and strengthen them so that we can judge others less harshly; after all- cleanliness is next to Godliness and there’s nothing to say we’re simply referring to a good wash!
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