At a dinner party two couples were introduce to each other. As they sat and became acquainted, one husband chatted at great length about his work. At the end of the evening, one wife said to the other, "Your spouse is a very interesting man." The other wife leaned over to the first and whisper, "He's nice to visit, but you wouldn't want to live with him!" There are numerous nice people out there, but where are the men, women, and children who are gentle?
Gentleness is another fruit of the Spirit. In other words, it should be an aspect of every believer’s character. Paul writes to believers in the book of Colossians to “take off or lay aside” their old sinful habits and ways, but not just to take off old habits of sin, but also to “put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Col 3:12). The reference here could be even translated as graciousness or sweet reasonableness-the gentleness or sweet reasonableness that produces the patience to endure injustice, disgrace, and mistreatment without retaliation, bitterness, or vengeance.
Sometimes we get the picture of gentleness as weakness, cowardice, or fainthearted, but in reality it is power under control whereby we have a humble attitude toward God and tender consideration of others. It is the opposite of vindictiveness and vengeance. It does not refer merely to one’s outward behavior, but to one’s disposition of heart and mind. It was used of wild animals that were tamed, especially of horses that were broken. The tamed or meek animal is still powerful, but his power is under the control of his trainer. Therefore, Biblical meekness or gentleness is power under the control of the Holy Spirit.
Gentleness is the ability to accept God's dealing with us as good, without disputing or resisting. It is opposite of violence, anger, arrogance, self-assertiveness and self-interest. It is the willing to suffer injury instead of inflicting it. It is not allowing anger and rage to flair up when we faced undeserved criticism. It is the willingness to make concessions. It is power under control.
God’s word tells believers to practice gentleness. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love” (Eph 4:2). “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted” (Gal. 6:1). “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (I Pet 3:15).
Gentleness is not promoted by our society today. Our society says “use” others, while meekness or gentleness says “respect” others. Our society says "right now," while gentleness says “I can wait.” Our society screams freedoms and rights, while gentleness stands on standards and values. Our society demonstrates rudeness, while gentleness demonstrates politeness. Our society seeks revenge, while gentleness trusts God.
How can we show gentleness?
- Acting like a gentleman and a lady
- Think about others and their feelings
- Be considerate and show courtesy to others
- Be soothing and mild mannered, rather than demanding, self-assertive, and defensive.
- Not using our physical strength to intimidate another person.
“Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom” (James 3:13).
-Pastor Mike Kotrla