“. . . speaking the truth in love . . . (Eph 4:15)
Much could be said about our former and 40th president Ronald Wilson Reagan. His leadership qualities were outstanding and exemplary but one thing that everyone confirms, including his enemies, was that he was a man of velvet steel. Here are some thoughts from those who knew him:
Republican Gov. Haley Barbour . . . remembered his former boss Ronald Reagan as a president whose style was that of "a velvet glove and a hand of steel." He said Reagan was "the most polite, courtly gentleman, but he knew what he was for and why and he always stuck by it."
To prevent the Soviets from crushing the Solidarity movement in Poland just as they had crushed the 1968 Prague Spring, on April 3, Reagan, still in the hospital after the attempt on his life, sent a blunt message to Brezhnev, threatening, as Reagan later wrote, “the harshest possible economic sanctions.” Did Reagan’s action forestall a Soviet invasion? If a definitive answer exists, it lies buried in the archives of the Politburo. Yet soon after Brezhnev received Reagan’s letter, the Soviet forces stood down. The revolution of 1989 might not have proven as soft as velvet if Ronald Reagan hadn’t spent eight years beforehand proving as hard as steel. Ronald Reagan won the Cold War. The Soviet Union collapsed. (Peter Robinson, speechwriter for six years in the White House).
Unfortunately, the picture some people have of Jesus is one of meekness that comes from weakness. “Gentle Jesus meek and mild” and all that jazz. But if you get your eyes off of how the Hollywood screen and artistic renderings portray Jesus, and look into the how He really is in the Gospels, you will truly find this quality of velvet steel. The One who said He was meek and lowly in heart also overturned the tables of the moneychangers and carried his cross to Calvary where the nails pierced His hands and feet.
The true definition of meekness is “strength under control”. God, all-powerful in His own created universe, who generates the raging storm, is also the One who created the fuzzy rabbit for children to hold and caress.
I like how the Bible says, “For whom the LORD loves He chastens” (Heb 12:6). God loves us but He loves us enough to correct us.
And we are called to have the same quality of love and firm resolve. They both go together. It is the balance of gentleness and strength so needed in an individual as we deal with difficult circumstances and trying personalities that will test our character and leadership. To speak the truth in love, to deal with an erring brother (Gal 6:1), to right a wrong. To have a furrowed brow with a broad grin. To be dovish with discernment (Mat 10:16). That’s the proper God ordained symmetry we are to possess.
May the Lord give us all the spiritual equilibrium we need to be people of velvet steel for His glory!