The Comforting Fruit of Gentleness – blog
Do you find yourself associating the idea of gentleness with weakness?
Paul wrote to the 1 Thessalonians 2:7;
“We were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children.”
He also writes to the Philippians 4:5;
“Let your gentleness be evident to all.”
Jesus said in Matthew 5:5
“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.”
If you are like me you read Matthew 5:5 and said; “Wait a minute, Jesus said blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” That is the way most of us remember it but literally, it is the same word in the Greek and is used in all three passages. It is the word “praotes” which means gentle and meek.
We associate gentleness or meekness with weakness, something most men and women do not want to project. However, it is the gentle that will inherit the earth. It may be true that historically it has been with a military might that kingdoms have risen and fallen. Yet, what might be true on the battlefield is not true in your living room. And, it is there, in our families and personal relationships where the fruit of the Spirit of gentleness has much more power than brute force.
It is not the person who flies off the handle, burns through their short fuse, and blows their stack with anger and damaging words that is really in control. Though it can silence the resistance it only produces a passive-aggressive response that damages the relationship at an even deeper level. It is the person who can remain calm in the face of anger and who can respond with the strength of gentleness who will rule the day.
In 39+ years of marriage my wife and I have barely ever raised our voices to each other. I learned very early in our marriage that my wife was extremely sensitive to the tone and volume of my voice because she was raised in the home of a verbally abusive father. So, over the years we have been able to discuss our differences in a setting where the volume was kept low.
However, one day about 3 weeks into the train wreck my sexual brokenness had created, I said something, and she leaped to her feet and began to yell at me. Actually, it was more like screaming. She had had enough and the torrent of anger she had kept inside came spewing out in a long list of adjectives of who she thought I was and against what I had done.
I was seated on the couch and she was standing over me yelling at the top of her lungs. Now she is a former singer and vocalist and she was trained in how to properly project her voice for maximum volume at minimal damage to her vocal chords. However, during what seemed like a very long time, she called me every name in her small book of curses.
I seriously did not know if she was going to hit me or not. Amazingly I sat there thinking; “Is she going to hit me in the face?” When she finished she took one of our heavy glasses that was sitting on the end table, hurled it across the room, and smashing into a hundred pieces against the wall. Then she marched upstairs and slammed the bedroom door.
By the grace of God, the Holy Spirit enabled me to sit still, not react at all, and in a spirit of gentleness listen to what I needed to hear. The next day started a two-week period where her damaged vocal chords caused her to barely speak at all.
Do others around you see this powerful fruit of the Spirit called gentleness? Do the words you speak and the actions you toward with your spouse, your children, and even your friends demonstrate that the Spirit is blessing you with gentleness? There are times when strength and power need to be used in the world of business. However, they are out of place when being with others, especially those whom you are called to love.
Holy Spirit please transform me into a person who is gentle with others. May my words and my actions help those around me to relax, unclench their fists and find comfort in the fact that I am there to help them and not hurt them.