I don’t know about you, but “gentle” and “affectionate” are not the first words that come to mind when I read the letters of the Apostle Paul. But I think that perception of mine is way off. There are plenty of clues throughout his letters that Paul had dear and intimate relationships with people of all kinds: men, women, rich people, slaves, learned, uneducated, old, young and so on. Paul truly practiced what he preached, that all people have been brought together through baptism into Christ and have been made one in the Holy Spirit. And Paul treasured and nurtured those Spirit-blessed relationships as vital to the proper understanding of the good news of Christ.
Listen to these words from today’s epistle reading. In 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8, Paul writes, “But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.”
May God help us to become gentle and affectionate towards those around us, that they might see the light of Christ and glorify our Father in heaven.