“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22
Don't Overlook Gentleness
As soon as I found out we were doing a series on the fruit of the Spirit I knew if I got the chance to choose that I wanted to talk gentleness. If I’m being honest I think for a while I’ve read this passage over and over and always skipped over gentleness. It was easy for me. ‘I’m a girl, I think I’m pretty nice, I don’t yell.’ No joke—those were my thoughts for a long time. And just recently, and by recently I mean like in the past month, when I read this the only fruit I even noticed when I read it was gentleness. And I read it over and over again and the only fruit I could read was gentleness. So I thought 'hey, maybe the Lord has more for me, maybe the Lord isn’t done with gentleness in me.” And He was so right.
Power in Gentleness
A lot of times when I would think about gentleness my mind immediately jumped to weakness or being defeated or too soft. When I thought about gentleness I thought about babies or small children. I asked myself the question “why is gentleness important?” So, I simply started to look up verses about gentleness. Gentleness is just as much a fruit as love or as joy—therefore it's just as powerful, its just as important and its just for us. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart” (Matthew 11:29) “See, your king comes to you gentle and riding on a donkey.” Jesus gives us a picture of gentleness and he offers to that day after day. That gentleness is not synonymous with weakness. Gentleness is for the strong hands who needs to learn to be gentle.
Welcome In Through Gentleness
When I used to squeeze our dad or older brothers hand as hard as I could they never told me that I needed to be gentle simply because I wasn’t hurting them. Even with all my might it didn’t affect them. But if they were to squeeze my hand in return they would have to be gentle. Their strong hand was the one who had to choose to be gentle. It’s not for the weak. When we are gentle we put the control into the arms of the father rather than our own. Because out of our own nature it is easy to get angry and seek revenge and that is the complete opposite of gentleness. When we are gentle we search for constant humility and thankfulness. While being gentle can look like being kind and not yelling being gentle is focused on Him - on the truth. Being gentle isn’t the easy way out. When we tell a friend that what they are living in a healthy way or the things that they are doing is not in line with the spirit, that's not easy, that’s not weak, that's not defeat, that's not soft—it is hard and painful truth but because we want to be in line with the spirit we love, encourage and fight for each other and ourselves. We speak and act in a way of gentleness guided by the spirit so that what we say and what we do will be able to be received well by others. So rather than yelling or getting angry when we sit with humble hearts, patience and gratitude others will be able to see and hear the Lord’s voice through us.
God Chose Gentleness
So why is gentleness important? We were created in the image of God. He was not created in the image of man. Just as we focus on peace, joy and love we should also focus our eyes on gentleness. The more we focus our eyes on gentleness the more we begin to walk in His likeness. Gentleness doesn’t mean everything will be happy and easy all the time. But as we begin to walk in this gift the focus of our eyes are from ourselves and others to the Lord. Gentleness isn’t just for your close friends or maybe strangers. Gentleness is meant to be evident for all. It’s powerful. It’s impactful. Gentleness allows us to care and love others in a way that is receiving. God didn’t have to be gentle, He was fully God—the King of Kings, the Creator of this Universe, the Lord of Lords and He still chose to be gentle. He is a Healer, He is a provider, He is a comforter. All these things requires gentleness.
Developing the Fruit
And so as you go out this week, my challenge for you is to take a step in to greater depths of gentleness. Ask the Lord, be real with yourself—invite Him to come and move in places that are rough, where you grow bitter and irritable. Be gentle in all that you do—that includes your mom, your dad, your siblings, and your roommates. Put the Lord first—seek Him first. Let Him be in control. And even when its hard—love, encourage, and support your people. Let His gentleness move through you. Whether your the softest of “softies” or the “roughest of roughs” He has more for you. Ask Him for it. Its worth it.
Lord, I thank you that you didn’t have to be gentle with us but yet you still are day after day. I thank you that gentleness is just as powerful as love as joy as patience. God I thank you that there is always more. We just ask for more of your spirit—that you would come and continue to fill us each day with your gentleness. That as we seek you and put you first it would begin to become easier and easier to love, to listen and to respond to the people around us.
- Ashley Gibson