Fruit of the Spirit – Gentleness

gentleness

Gentle means 1. having or showing a kind and quiet nature; not harsh or violent; 2. not hard or forceful; 3. not strong or harsh in effect or quality.

“You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your gentleness made me great.”  2 Samuel 22:36 ESV.

David spoke these words near the end his life.  With God’s help David became one the greatest men to have ever lived.  God taught David gentleness so he could be great.

When we think of God we might not consider His gentleness, we see much of His great power and might, the parting of the Red Sea or the flood waters covering the wicked in Noah’s time.  As powerful as God is, He is also gentle.  God could act in a mighty way ~ forceful and demanding but that way is not His nature.

God is gentle with us, showing His quiet nature.

God is gentle with us, He does not force Himself on us.

God is gentle with us, He is not cruel.

God is gentle with us, He does not act impulsively.

God is gentle with us, He is not inconsiderate.

Gentleness is His nature, an amazing characteristic to consider!  Our God, who made everything from nothing, who knows everything, would choose to be gentle.
If God is gentle with us, should we not be gentle with others?
As the Holy Spirit fills our lives, gentleness will be expressed through us.
“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” Titus 3:1-2 ESV

Gentleness is difficult … it’s difficult to be gentle to others when someone is talking behind your back, when you watch someone give in to the same sin time and time again. Our human nature comes into play and we just want to shake them to wake them up.  We’ve all looked at others and thought “I don’t understand”.

At the heart of these thoughts is pride, a sense that we are better than another or above that type of behavior.

 Are we really?

I see this sin working in me, the pride, I don’t like to admit it, but it’s true.  I get frustrated when others aren’t listening, aren’t responding the way I think they should.  I want to scream at them, “I’m trying to show you! Why won’t you do it my way!” Sometimes I believe I’m justified, I’m trying to lead them to God, to Jesus, it’s righteousness anger, after all, isn’t it?   No, it’s not righteous anger, it’s my own pride, it’s me looking for the glory that should be His and His alone.  I will admit, the more I learn about Him, His ways, His laws, the more the pride thoughts stop me in my tracks.  I know that I need to be as gentle with them as He has been with me.  There is more work for me to do on this fruit, we are all a work in progress, and I’m no exception but I pray that God will keep a hand over my mouth, that He and He alone will give me the words of gentleness to others, so the glory is His.

How were we before we came to know Jesus?   Were we better or above the people we are struggling to love today?

“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.” Titus 3:3 ESV

Looking back I was all the things that Paul says.  Weren’t we all?  My heart grieves that I didn’t come to Him sooner!  How I allowed myself to pursue things not of Him!  How much different would my life be, had I only come?  If I had only taken His hand sooner.

 I was no better than those I’m trying to bring to God now, no better.  I knew but didn’t follow.  I knew but didn’t speak.  God was gentle towards me… I must be too.

Jesus was gentle towards us, too.   He showed us mercy, He saved us from our sin.  Did we deserve this?  No, we didn’t.  Did we earn it by our good deeds?  No, we didn’t.

So then, who are we to deny the same gentleness to others!?

When sin shows up in someone’s life we have two ways to respond…1.  We can look down our noses at them, talk about them, shake our heads about them; or 2. We can show mercy.  We shouldn’t be trapped by self-righteousness but sharing the hope Jesus has poured into us.

Jesus walked our earth as the Son of Man, we need to study His actions very carefully to understand how He handled different kinds of people.  Sometimes He would engage and set them straight.  Sometimes He would be gentle, speaking with kindness and love.  His gentle way always touches my heart… for I’m sure there were thoughts of “again?”.  Yet He remained gentle until the end.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”  Colossians 3:12-13 ESV

Gentleness is not a lack of power; it’s power under control.

Are you allowing the grace of God to flow through you to others?

Softly and Tenderly by Will L. Thompson

  1. Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
    Calling for you and for me;
    See, on the portals He’s waiting and watching,
    Watching for you and for me.

    • Refrain:
      Come home, come home,
      You who are weary, come home;
      Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
      Calling, O sinner, come home!
  2. Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading,
    Pleading for you and for me?
    Why should we linger and heed not His mercies,
    Mercies for you and for me?
  3. Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing,
    Passing from you and from me;
    Shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming,
    Coming for you and for me.
  4. Oh, for the wonderful love He has promised,
    Promised for you and for me!
    Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon,
    Pardon for you and for me.

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