In the last week, we’ve celebrated both Mothering Sunday and International Women’s Day. Therefore, I think this is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate some of the wonderful qualities we see in so many of the fantastic women we know!
We can also see many of these attributes demonstrated by God throughout the Bible too. Whilst usually referred to as male, God frequently displays attributes that many people would consider feminine or motherly, alongside more masculine traits. This, when you think about it, actually makes perfect sense considering both man and woman was made in God’s image!
Quite frankly, God’s patience is second to none. If we look through the Bible at the amount of times that God’s people didn’t recognise him, turned away from him, forgot about him, even after all he had done for them, it’s crazy. Even when Jesus came to earth, taught amazing things and performed brilliant miracles, people still didn’t get it! Humans really are quite slow. But God’s patience remained throughout. He stayed with his people throughout everything! Even today we can see God’s patience as he waits for each, allowing us to grow in our faith at our own pace.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”
– 2 Peter 3:9
God’s compassion is so evident throughout the Bible. He looks down at all of his people, and he has empathy for us, he has mercy upon us. We see this in bucket-fulls when we look to Jesus in the Gospels. He had compassion for those around him and tended to their needs, he provided for them (John 2:1-11), he taught them (Matthew 5-7) and he healed many of them (Matthew 8:1-17).
But, I think we see the ultimate of God’s compassion through Jesus coming to earth to live here as a human alongside us, and to die with our sins upon his shoulders in order to grant us freedom.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”
– John 3:16
God’s kindness is very much linked to his compassion; it is because of such compassion that we can see his caring and kind nature towards each of us. Psalm 121 beautifully speaks of this kindness; of God being there to help us, protecting us, holding us up, watching over us. Again, Jesus further demonstrates this kindness during his ministry, speaking to people who usually would have been shunned, favouring the outcast and the poor.
“The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.””
– Jeremiah 31:3
God is described as gentle, or tender, a number of times throughout the Bible. I think this is such a reflection upon his character and the nature of his love. He isn’t pushing us one way or another but guides us gently, carries us gently, leads us gently. Often, I think this can be difficult for those wanting loud, obvious direction from God, but it shows just how deep his love for us is.
“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young”
– Isaiah 40:11
Forgiveness is a HUGE part of the Bible. In the Old Testament, we see people offering sacrifices to God for forgiveness. Then in the New Testament we learn more of the need for repentance in return for forgiveness from God (Acts 3:19, 1 John 1:9). This forgiveness is incredible, no matter what we’ve done, how far from God we have turned, there is nothing we can do that God will not forgive if we repent, turn away from our sin and declare him Lord.
“as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us”
– Psalm 103:12
Disclaimer – whilst I have listed these qualities as ‘feminine’, they are not exclusively demonstrated by women! Many, many, many men demonstrate all of these qualities wonderfully too, they are simply perceived by many to be feminine. I will also be doing a ‘5 Masculine Attributes of God’ blog post to celebrate Father’s Day!
Dear God, thank you for the wonderful women we have in our lives! Help us to support them, thank them, celebrate them and grow to be like them. Help us to be more patient, compassionate, kind, gentle and forgiving and to recognise these qualities in you. Amen.