“Let your gentleness be evident to all.” Philippians 4:5
The Bible is replete with commands for us to be gentle. I know some people who have a lot of gentleness. And these are the people whom I admire the most. This is because gentleness doesn’t come very naturally to me. But the more I study, the more I find that gentleness is one of the chief Christian virtues. We are told in 1 Thessalonians that Paul was so gentle, that he was like a mother caring for her little children. The same Paul who boldly proclaimed the gospel is also gentle. Jonathan Edwards called gentleness the “Christian Spirit.” He said, “All who are truly godly and are real disciples of Christ have a gentle spirit in them.” And he is right. Gentleness is indeed the fruit of the Spirit, evidence of a new heart given to us by the Holy Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
Being gentle doesn’t mean that you are weak. It means that your strength is completely in control and that a form of love and compassion is guiding your actions. A gentle person still speaks the entire truth, even truth that can be hard to hear, but he does so in a way that is absolutely loving. Gentleness is meekness. It is possessing strength but choosing to be tender-hearted.
What Does The Bible Say About Gentleness?
Initially, we can see that the Bible commands us to be gentle. It is the way that all believers should behave. We should not be prone to harshness or quick to argue. Gentleness heals. Gentleness reflects Christ's love for us. Being gentle does not mean that you hide the truth or that you mindlessly agree with whoever is around you – but that you choose your words carefully, and lovingly but firmly speak the truth.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.” James 3:17
“Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.” James 3:13
Gentleness is a virtue that many of us have to work at. Thankfully the Bible says that it doesn’t always come naturally – but that we have to “put it on” and “pursue it. ” This also lets us know that it isn’t impossible to become gentle. We should raise the bar for our behavior and attitude – we are called to walk worthy of our calling.
“So, as those who have been chosen by God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Colossians 3:12
“Therefore, I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love.” Ephesians 4:1-2
“For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.” 1 Timothy 6:10-11
Scripture also tells us that gentleness is one of the qualifiers to determine if someone is called to be a pastor or elder. This means that if someone is not gentle, they have no business being in the pulpit. This is not a command to be spineless. Church leaders are to be firm in their convictions and stand boldly on the Word of God. There is even a time to be forceful, for example, when dealing with wolves in the flock. Jesus flipping tables is a great example: His boldness there was not unbridled. It was still controlled.
But he must be known for his gentleness. Because it is his gentleness that will enable others to see Christ in the way that the woman at the well saw Him.
“… not violent but gentle…” 1 Timothy 3:3
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30
What is Gentleness?
One definition is “The quality of not being overly impressed by a sense of one’s own self-importance: gentleness, humility, courtesy, considerateness, meekness.”
Gentleness comes from having humility and an outpouring of love.
It’s being courteous and sensitive to how you come across to others.
Being gentle is being selfless and patient.
Gentleness is neither weak or fragile.
Jerry Bridges said, “Gentleness is the strength of being tender. Gentleness is needed because the human personality is valuable but fragile and must be handled with care.”
Gentleness is one of the great virtues that the Lord wants us to cultivate in our hearts. God has promised to give us these traits so that we can grow in them to become more like Him in our journey of sanctification.
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