“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
What comes to your mind when you think of gentleness?
A common misconception is that gentleness is weakness or passivity. True gentleness, however, is just the opposite. It requires great strength and self-control.
Gentleness comes from a state of humility. Therefore, someone who lacks gentleness is often prideful and easily angered, or feels the need for revenge.
In order to be gentle, we must not view ourselves as better than someone else. Rather than asserting superiority, someone who is gentle wants to help others, even when they have been done wrong.
An example of gentleness can be seen in John 8, when the Pharisees bring a woman who was caught in adultery to Jesus. The Pharisees told Jesus that the Law of Moses commanded them to stone such a woman, to which Jesus responds, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7).
After everyone left, Jesus did not condemn the woman, and said to her, “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11).
Just like how Jesus was gentle with the woman in this story, God is gentle with us. Even in our sin, He continues to love us. He does not keep record of our wrongs, but offers forgiveness if we come to Him.
God wants us to be gentle to others. Matthew 6:14-15 says, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
A gentle heart comes from having love for others. This is shown in our thoughts and in the way we interact with those around us.
So how do we grow in our gentleness?
It is important to have an accurate perception of what gentleness is. It should not be seen as a weakness, but rather as a strength. When we see it this way, we can begin to work toward becoming gentler.
In addition, it is important to acknowledge the ways in which God is gentle with us. He is the Creator of the universe, yet He is still gentle and loving toward us despite our sinful nature.
Finally, we can incorporate gentleness into our own lives. Through prayer, we can ask God to give us a spirit of gentleness and take away any feelings of self-righteousness. We can ask Him to reveal ways we can show gentleness to others so that we may reflect His character.
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