James 3:17 says, “If you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, don’t think that is a smart. That kind of thinking goes against the truth. This wisdom descendes not from above but is earthly sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”
Gentleness is an outgrowth of God’s wisdom. Several Greek words are translated gentleness and all of them mean about the same. They mean kind, affiable, moderation, appropriate. Gentleness is closely related to patience.
In Titus 3:2, the Apostle Paul tells us that we should speak kindly of everyone and be gentle. According to
I Peter 2:18, the Apostle Peter tells us that we are to be gentle even with people in authority who are stubborn and crooked. If the boss wastes your time, he/she will have to answer for it.
In Galatians 5:19-2r says “now the works of the flesh are manifest which are these adultery fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, reveling, and such like of which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God, but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness temperance, against such there is not law. They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”
According to these verses, gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit, but it is also a gift from God. It doesn’t come from trying to follow a bunch of laws, but comes in the package with God’s gift of love.
The Power of Gentleness
Proverbs 15:1 says A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge aright, but the mouth of fools pours out foolishness.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “If you want to get someone’s attention, just whisper?”
In a world where loud, animated, opinionated, often ignorant individuals are fighting for the limelight, the quiet gentle spirit stands out as someone who is different. As Christians, our duty is not to argue with those people. Instead our responsibility is to show others that type of behavior is not necessary. Far more strength exists in an individual who can walk quietly into a terse situation and gently remove the fuse.
Gentleness is most effective when we rid ourselves of our defensive armor. It’s like taking off our guns and throwing them on the ground. The paradox of gentleness is that by making ourselves vulnerable, we strengthen our position.
Here’s an example. Back when I was in the Navy, I was a hospital Corpsman who specialized in working with psychiatric patients. I primarily worked on the wards. At that time, military patients who were prescribed psychotropic drugs (anti-psychotics and mood stablizers) were required to take those medications while still in the military. If they refused, we could “force” them to take them.
There was team of big burly guys who would restrain the individual and force them to take the medication in the buttocks if they refused to take it by mouth. The job that I was best at, and much preferred was calming the (usually irate) individual down and gently convince the individual that he or she really wanted to take the medication after all.
You see, in my gentleness, I had more power over the patients than that goon squad. I was able, not only to get them to do what I wanted them to do, but by the time I was done talking with them, I had built trust with them. They knew that I had their best interests at heart because I really didn’t want them to be restrained and they knew it.
The most powerful displays of gentleness were displayed by Christ. He gently laid aside his rights as deity his first time on this earth so that we could know his gentle character. He showed us this time and again as he was met by broken sinners who begged for his mercy. He demonstrated this gentleness when as in Matthew 18:2-7 when he took a child into his arms. He spoke of his gentleness when he talked of himself as the Good Shepherd. He also displayed this gentleness when he didn’t say a word, but willingly went to the cross for us. That is gentleness to a degree that I cannot fathom therefore I cannot imagine ever reaching.
Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church 1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm. As Author Cygnet Brown, she has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener
She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga