Grown by God: Gentleness

Cute and stylish family in a autumn park

Lately, have you witnessed people being harsh? Whether we agree or disagree with their positions, we are often left with a bad taste in our mouths when we see people cut down, belittle, accuse, or overreact towards others. Why is that such a turn off? I think it boils down to a very biblical principle that has been dismissed in our 2020 society: we long for gentleness. 

On the surface, we know exactly what gentleness is. It’s the way a mother cleans up the scrape on her child’s knee. It’s the way medical professionals handle a broken arm. It’s the way a Kindergarten teacher comforts a student who wants to go home. However, biblical gentleness runs a little deeper than those images. 

Think Break:

  • What’s the best display of gentleness you have seen?
  • What do you think of when you think of gentleness?

Gentleness in Scripture:

When we read about gentleness in Scripture, it involves mildness (the opposite of being harsh), meekness (gentleness combined with humility), and love (for God and people). The Bible makes it very clear that being gentle over hostile is demanded from people who follow Jesus (1 Timothy 3:3, Titus 3:2), especially when confronting people about spiritual or conflicting issues (Galatians 6:1, 2 Timothy 2:25). More generally speaking, God calls His people to “put on” gentleness, implying this is a choice (Ephesians 4:2, Colossians 3:12). There are times when rude, snappy, or harsh replies seem warranted, but we would do better to choose gentleness. 

Choosing to be gentle comes with consequences–very positive results. Demonstrating gentleness safeguards our reputation as Christians and allows us to keep shining our lights for the Lord (1 Peter 3:16). Through gentleness, those we teach will hopefully repent and be led to “a knowledge of the truth”—this links 2 Timothy 2:25 with 1 Timothy 2:4 (We cannot be saved without a knowledge of the truth!). 

Gentleness a Fruit of the Spirit:

Gentleness is also a fruit of the Spirit. When we live Christ-led lives, God’s Spirit creates a unique gentleness within us that is concerned about how souls are treated and how His people are viewed in the world. This gentleness is not weak, shy, or morally flexible. It is a deep compassion-driven attitude of care and love that attracts people to Jesus. 

In a time of racial and political division, job loss and economic difficulty, and medical crisis, the world as much as ever needs Christian gentleness to shine. Gentleness offers compassion, a kind tone, and reasonableness when the world has lost them and needs them. 

May God bless us with an extra measure of gentleness during these hard and trying days!

Discuss or Think about the Following:

  • What is gentleness?
  • When is it difficult to choose to be gentle?
  • Why is being Gentle so important?

 

More Devotionals on the fruit of the Spirit by Will Martin:

Grown by God: Love

Grown By God: Joy

Grown by God: Peace

Grown by God: Patience

Grown by God: Kindness

Grown by God: Goodness

Grown By God: Faithfulness

Grown by God: Self-Control

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