“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
Gentleness can also be translated as “meekness” but never to be confused with weakness. Gentleness tends to be one of the fruits of the Spirit that I forget about. Like I know it is there, but I just kind of read over it, anyone else? But gentleness is just as important as the rest of the fruits. Gentleness is not about being weak or a victim, which is usually how people see it. Gentleness is about putting others first, being thankful to God, and being kind/ polite to others. It is love and kindness in action. Once again the fruits are building upon each other, one leading to another. Today we are going to talk about what Gentleness is and practical ways to practice it in our lives.
Words…words are a BIG deal. Our words help or hurt, no matter what we say no word goes from our mouth unnoticed. Our words can damage and destroy or they can uplift and heal. We get to choose. The Bible puts a lot of emphasis on our words and the effect that they have. Think before you speak, you have probably heard that before most likely when you were a child. Children are notorious for speaking their minds, no matter how it sounds. But as adults we have to be more careful with our speech. Is it kind? Is it helpful? Is it necessary? How could this make this person feel? There are lots of questions we should ask before we say something to or about someone. Even among close friends we should be careful what we say about others. Sometimes when we are comfortable around people we let our words slip a bit. But gossiping with close friends or family is still gossip. If you would not say it to that person, you probably should not say it about that person. Because regardless of whether that person heard you, God still heard you. Not only should we stop and think about what we say, but we should examine how we say things. Our tone or facial expressions tend to show our feelings even more that our words do. If you feel your self getting angry or irritated, step away from the situation take a deep breathe, say a prayer and come back. Gentleness is about showing love in all aspects including our speech, so think before you speak, if it meets the criteria then say it if not then don’t.
“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” Proverbs 15:1
Gentleness does not equal weakness. People have this idea of Christians where we are all beat down and weak, where we are not allowed to stand up for ourselves because it is not “Christian” to do so. But that is not the case, greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world (1 John 4:4)! Gentleness is merely strength under control. We have power, a mighty power from God Himself. In fact even in OUR weakness, HE is at His strongest. We have nothing to fear. We already have the victory, we are not fighting for victory we are fighting from victory. I have read the last chapter I know how it ends. So do not ever feel like being gentle means you are weak or should back down because it is the opposite of that. Gentleness is being kind and loving, AND also being powerful. It is literally the best of both worlds. Do not walk around defeated in the name of Christ, that is not at all what He intended for us. Walk in power, love, kindness and gentleness.
“Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!” 1 Peter 3:15-17
Gentleness In Action
Gentleness allows us to be kind and loving to others. It stays calm when emotions run high, and to does the right thing when we do not feel like it. People need to know that we care. Hurting people are all around us and they desperately need someone to speak life into them and to treat them with gentleness. Look for opportunities to help others, to offer a kind word, to do an act of kindness. We need to set aside our pride and be the person that others need us to be, the person God wants us to be. God is gentle with us, breathing life into us, choosing us even when we fall flat on our faces. We have to be that for others. We have to lift them up when they fall down, brush them off and leave them better that when we first met them. Do not lose an opportunity to be a light to someone. Correct with Kindness, not condemnation. Realize that the person’s salvation is more important than our pride. Accept that God is in charge and we have a mission to spread His love to others. That is what gentleness is all about, pointing others to the love of God.
“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Phillippians 4:5