In our fast-paced and competitive world, it is easy to forget that we need to be gentle. We often see gentleness as weakness – something to be avoided in oneself and exploited in others.
Biblical times were violent and harsh, yet the bible tells us repeatedly to be gentle. Jesus is our example; he was gentle and strong at the same time. Not two opposing values but two that complement each other.
To be gentle means to be kind, generous, courteous, tame, quiet; not strong, rough or violent.
Gentleness is generally connected to meekness and humility in the scriptures. This is what Paul meant when he wrote to Titus, telling him that believers should not slander anyone, and they must avoid quarrelling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility (Titus 3:2)
We often overlook that gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit. It is a quality that the Holy Spirit produces in our lives, as found in Galatians 5: 22-26:
23 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
Gentleness is, in fact, a requirement for service. We need to learn how to deal with difficult people.
How are we to instruct those who oppose the truth? We find the answer in 2 Timothy 2:23-25:
23 Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights.
24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.
25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.
Gentleness helps us relate to others and make allowance for others’ faults, just as we would like them to show us some patience and grace as we ourselves grow in the Lord.
We are all on this journey together. It helps to promote unity in the body as Paul pleaded for in Ephesians 4: 1-6:
4 Therefore, I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.
2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.
3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.
4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.
5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 one God and Father of all, Who is over all, and living through all.
And so I urge you today: let your gentleness be expressed in your lifestyle. Respect others, even if you disagree with them. Be gentle. Care. Love. Respect.