What is the image that comes to your mind when you hear the word, gentleness? Is it the picture of a mother and a newborn child tenderly cuddled in her arms? Maybe it is the gentle soap that has no fragrance and harsh chemicals. Is it a setting on the washer? Does that help to define and explain gentleness as included in the Fruit of the Spirit?
The dictionary defines gentleness as kindly; amiable, a gentle manner, no severe, rough, or violet; mind, moderate.
The Bible dictionary has this definition – Sensitivity of disposition and kindness of behavior, founded on strength and prompted by love.
Founded on strength
When I think of gentleness I don’t necessarily think of strength. When I pause and ponder gentleness has strength. Gentleness is knowing how to use the strength. Knowing God’s strength and seeing the gentleness we so much more that God is gentle with us.
Prompted by love
It is because of love that we are gentle. We love the person and understand that because of that we need to be gentle.
If there is no strength, then it is not gentleness but rather weakness. Love guides our actions and so we then understand that gentleness is needed.
I think we understand God’s gentleness when we understand that he is a consuming fire, a jealous God. (Deuteronomy 4:24) When we understand that characteristic of God, then we can begin to understand his gentleness. If we go back to the definition of gentleness and look at God’s gentleness. We know that God is powerful. God has the strength so his gentleness is founded on strength. God’s gentleness is prompted by his love.
So why is God gentle with us? He loves us. God wants a relationship with us and knows that gentleness is needed.
So if that is true with God would it not be true for us that we need to be gentle with those around us. Ephesians 4:1-3 says that we are to walk with all humility and gentleness. Interesting that humility is listed with gentleness. Humility is how we consider ourselves and how we consider others. If we are humble, it will result in gentleness. Walk in gentleness.
As God’s chosen ones, we are to put on gentleness or meekness. (Colossians 3:12) Clothing is either one of two things. It is either the foundational garments. You know the garments that help to hold us all together. The other kind of clothing is the garments that we wear that people see. Gentleness is both of these — the foundational garment and the outer garment. When we have gentleness as a foundational it impacts how we wear our other clothing.
Reflections on Gentleness
Gentleness is an attitude. The attitude of gentleness impacts how we relate. When we have the attitude it will be easier for the actions to follow.
Gentleness is an action. Our words and our actions should be gentle. Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh words stirs up anger.” That gives us an example of how the gentle action can change a situation.
Let’s grow in gentleness. Learn about God’s gentleness and reflect that in your own life.
This has been a characteristic that I have struggled with writing. Hence the reason that we are halfway through the month and I am just now posting. I do feel it is important. I was tempted to just skip it but knew I really couldn’t. Here are my beginning thoughts. Give me your thoughts about gentleness.