Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 4

A firm but gentle attitude

Philippians 4:5

People often insist on what they consider to be fair. They know their rights; and so they demand that other people deal with them in that manner. Their attitude about these things is strict; their opinions are absolute and do not change.

Paul urges Christians to be gentle with all people. Sometimes people are gentle merely because of weakness. That is a fault in their character and Paul does not approve of it. Rather, Paul is describing an attitude that people choose to have – it is the opposite of the strict attitudes that we have just described.

A Christian should know his rights; he should understand clearly what is right or wrong. However, he should choose carefully when to demand his rights.

For example, someone may say or do something wrong against a Christian. A strict person would become angry at once. However, the Christian should be slow to become angry (Proverbs 16:32). He must first decide whether it will achieve any useful purpose to be angry in that situation. In the same way, a Christian is eager to forgive (Matthew 18:21-22). That is the kind of firm but gentle attitude that Paul approves of. It is how a Christian should deal with both his friends and his enemies.

Paul explains the reason why Christians should show this attitude. Christ is coming back to this world soon (Revelation 22:20). So Christians should live as people who expect that to happen soon (see for example, Ephesians 4:25-32). In everything they should choose to behave in a careful and sensible manner, so that God receives honour (Romans 12:14-21).

Next part: Do not be anxious – pray! (Philippians 4:6)


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