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
Thank you for continuing with me in this study at looking at the fruit of the Spirit. If you just joined in this study and have not seen the previous posts you can find theme here: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness.
Today I will be looking at the fruit of gentleness, what it is and what it looks like in the life of a believer.
The word ‘gentleness’ was originally translated as meekness in the KJV bible. It is a word that is talking about being mild, not harsh.
Many in the world see gentleness as a type of weakness. It is often accepted that a woman may be gentle, but it is often discouraged in men. Some women, with the feminist movement, will also look down upon being gentle. With that in mind, very few people are actually gentle.
Throughout the bible there are various verses that give good guidelines as to what gentleness looks like in a person. I will be looking at some of these verses.
The best spot to begin is with God and seeing how He is gentle.
He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:11
The world loves to drive and push people. They want to show that they have absolute control. Some believers lead in a harsh demanding sort of way, just as the world tends to lead. They are demanding and forceful, rather than gentle and kind as God is.
God does not have to prove He has control, He just has it. He uses His immense power under control and with gentleness.
People are just like sheep. They need to be treated gently. Leading is to be done with control, but in gentleness, carefully guiding people or others. This type of leading can only be done when done out of love and care for others, being filled and led by His Holy Spirit.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
Harsh words are heard all the time. Watch any political campaign and all you will often hear is slamming other people with harsh words. Crushing the opponent is the goal of many candidates.
Sadly this can also be seen in the church. One believer crushes another with harsh words or they crush non-believers with hateful harsh words. They will often not speak the whole truth that God has given them, but only a portion of what God says.
There will be times when someone is harsh with you. One will say things or doing things that are harsh. Do not respond in the same way. Instead of using harsh words, you must be gentle towards others. Being gentle will cause another person to calm down faster. Harsh words only stirs up anger and a fighting spirit.
When you are filled with the Holy Spirit and are being led by Him, you will be gentle in what you have to say towards others. Your words will not be harsh and condemning, but full of love and grace, building others up. These words will be gentle.
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15
People will want to know why you believe what you do. Why do you believe in a person who lived centuries ago? Why do you not do certain things and do other things? Why do you act the way you act?
Answering these can be easy, but they can be done in a harsh way. Some will answer it in a ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude, looking down upon the person asking the question. Others will answer in a way that is looking at the person as though it was a stupid question to ask.
Being filled with the Holy Spirit will cause you to answer with gentleness. You will not be rude and condescending about it.
Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,2 Timothy 2:25
As a believer you will have some who oppose you. Watch the news, movies, tv shows, listen the radio, it is everywhere, believers have opponents. There are people who do not believe in God or believe in Jesus. They may not believe in any god or they may believe in a false god.
Some of these may oppose violently, while others may be calm and mild about their opposition, they just don’t agree.
Many believers have harshly went up against unbelievers. They will quickly condemn them and show no compassion or love towards those who oppose. They want judgement.
However, as a believer, you are to be like God, gently speaking to them with the goal that they will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus and repentance. You need to remember that at some point you were just like them without a saving knowledge of Jesus. You did not know the truth.
Fill your heart with God’s love and gentleness towards them. Seek to show them who God is and His great love for them. Hope for a change of heart and that they will follow Jesus.
Being filled with God’s Holy Spirit will change you. He will make you more like Jesus every day. The signs of those changes can be seen in the fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is a character change. Allow God to change you into the image of Jesus everyday.
Change in the Holy Spirit begins with love, leading to joy, leading to peace, leading to forbearance, leading to kindness, leading to goodness, leading to faithfulness, which in turn leads to gentleness. Allow these changes to occur and be evident in your life. Allow the world to see all these fruits of the Spirit.
Again, thank you for continuing with me on this journey of looking in depth the fruit of the Spirit. Next week I will look at the last fruit, the fruit of self-control. Please be sure to return for this last fruit. Feel free to share this post with any of your friends who may need to see it.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
The fastest reaction that people have to what someone else says or does is with their words. People are quick to answer someone’s words or actions.
When the words or actions are harmful and offensive, the reaction is often spoken with harsh, condemning words. Retaliation is quick and swift in the attempt to strike back and make the person pay. Anger rises up and gets the best of a person.
Responding in this way, only causes the first person to respond with even more harsh and condemning words. This is what causes many fight and keeps many battles moving forward, rather than being solved.
Solomon realizes that a soft answer will keep anger at bay and calm a person down. Harsh words will only get a person more angry.
Harsh words are easy to speak and often are the first things that come out of a person. Believers are often quick to use harsh words under the disguise of trying to help the person see the error of their ways. Christians are often quick to condemn the sin in another person with harsh words, rather than showing true love.
The only time Jesus used harsh words was with the religious leaders who should have known better. With those who were lost in sin and did not know God in any way, He spoke with gentle words of love and kindness.
When words of condemnation and hate are spoken to unbelievers or even to other believers, it will raise up their anger. It will make a wrong even more wrong, causing greater battles and injury.
There is nothing harsh in the words of love, mercy and grace. Those are words that reach out to touch a person for God, revealing God’s true character.
As you go along in life there will be times when you will be hurt by someone or see someone steeped in sin. How you respond to that person will reveal the character of God. Your words can either draw the person towards God or push them away.
Harsh, condemning words will push them away and cause their anger to rise up against you and God. Soft and gentle, but firm words will calm them down and draw them towards Jesus.
How are your words causing others to act? Are they stirring up anger or are they drawing them towards God and diffusing the anger?
I pray today that you will know the love of God; that God will give you the words to speak; that you will speak out of the love God has for you and for others; and that your words will be the words of God to build up rather than tear down and destroy.