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Gentleness: Softening Up When The World Says We Should Be Rough

Luke 6:43 – “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit…”

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Galatians 5:22-23 is one of the most memorized scriptures in the bible. This scripture speaks of the “fruit” that comes from following Jesus and having the Spirit within us. It lists many different “fruits” that should be produced from us. In this series, I’ve been discussing the fruits and what they truly look like in our everyday lives.

“Nothing is as strong as gentleness. Nothing so gentle as real strength.” – Francis de Sales

Gentle, Like Christ

If you read scripture, you will, surprisingly, find many references to being gentle. One of the best examples of this calling in the New Testament is our calling to be gentle like Jesus Christ.

Christ describes himself as gentle and lowly in heart in Matthew 11:29, implying that following His will causes one to become less burdened.

This is the way to really break free from our bonds. If we take up His ways, we can be free of the stress that this world causes.

Paul references Christ’s gentleness in 2 Corinthians 10:1 when appealing to the Corinthian people. The best way to approach people has always been this way – in humble gentleness.

In the Old Testament wisdom literature, Proverbs 15:1 (and a few others in this passage), is a great reference as well. We are told that by being gentle will allow us to survive the wrath of others like nothing else will.

The Value Of A Gentle Spirit

Even when it doesn’t specifically say “be gentle like Christ”, scripture still shows us how a gentle spirit is what we are called to have. For example, 1 Corinthians 4:21 comments on how a gentle spirit can get through to people much quicker than punishment or harsh rebukes.

This should be readily obvious to us but it is still something that, as men, I know we struggle with. Our urges call us to fight but in all reality, the best way to survive most of the Christian battle of life is through patient humility.

We are all prisoners in the Lord (Ephesians 4:2) who are called to be humble and gentle. If we disobey these orders, we are calling Christ a liar. How can we claim to know the Lord, if we are disobeying what He called us to do? If we disobey this rule, we are, in fact, showing doubt in what we are claiming our Lord to be.

Do not get me wrong, I know that we struggle in this life with interactions of people around us. Yet scripture reminds us that whenever possible, being gentle is the most productive choice we have. Plus, it shows people our security is in Jesus, not our power.

The Necessity Of Being Content

The last piece of advice I can give you is to heed what Paul already recommends to us in 1 Timothy 6. Here, he tells us that greed and false teachings are everywhere, but by being gentle and humble, we can avoid these things.

Teach and urge these things. If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound2 words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and3 we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. (1 Timothy 6:3-8)

This isn’t easy, but it’s something we should work towards. If you look at verse 6, while it doesn’t say “gentle” it does say “contentment” which is a linked idea – a key to being gentle.

If you can keep your spirit of contentment, you will keep your spirit of gentleness also. Therefore brothers, rejoice in the Lord, and remember that sometimes, the best thing you can do is step away from the problems and get into the scripture.

Be gentle brothers. Be gentle.

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