Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit that is fundamental to relationships between Christians. In a world that is full of abrasiveness, rudeness, disrespect, and downright anger, Christians are commanded to be different. The world is full of people who say and do what they want and could care less how it comes across. Christians understand that people will act this way and be at constant enmity with one another. But Christians must act differently and demonstration the virtue of gentleness.
Gentleness is a disposition that is even tempered, tranquil and thoughtful. A person who is gentle is a person who is non-vengeful, non-offensive, non-argumentative. They do not aggressively demand their way or think that they are always right. Rather they are willing to submit to others without rebellion. They are mild, considerate and have a pleasant spirit. They are easy to get along with because of the kindness of their attitude. They are peacemakers and seek for unity and harmony with their fellow neighbors.
The words “gentle” and “gentleness” come from six Greek words in the New Testament. There are 15 instances where these words are used. The Greek word “prautes” found in Galatians 5:23 comes from the primary word in Greek “praus,” which basically means something that is meek, tame and humble. In 1 Timothy 3:3, a different Greek word is used for gentle that is a qualification for Elders. This is someone who easily pardons human wrongs. Someone who is forbearing, fair and soft. The NIV translates this word as “considerate.” In 1 Corinthians 4:21, the Apostle Paul is speaking to the Corinthian Church and he says to them, What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love and a spirit of gentleness? It is a rhetorical question because even though they deserved a stern rod for their divisions and infighting, Paul came in loving gentleness. This was the pattern of Paul in dealing with troubling people. Over in Galatians 6:1, Paul says, Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. To the Ephesians he exhorts them in Ephesians 4:1-2 to, 1 Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness. Some in the Ephesian Church had grown cold, not only in their love toward Christ, but also toward one another. Paul in essence is encouraging them to act like Christ (2 Corinthians 10:1).
Jesus was the most gentle Man to ever live. He always responded with grace and acted with love, but sometimes it was tough love. Even when Jesus got angry He did not sin. He threw out the money changers in the Temple but He did not sin. He confronted the Pharisees and scribes in the most straightforward way with strong words of condemnation, yet He did not sin. When Jesus expressed anger it was always justified. The Bible says that you can be angry and sin not (Ephesians 4:26). Gentleness does not mean there is not a righteous anger that can be displayed. You can be kind and tender, yet at the same time firm and bold. The Christian must be careful to have the proper balance. Gentleness is not being a push over or a door mat where you let people walk all over you. Gentleness is not self-condescension where you have a mindset that you are nothing but a worm that cannot have an opinion, but must always agree with others. Gentleness is not being spineless. Rather gentleness is the strength of being tender yet strong in the Lord. It is one of the great virtues God gives to His people so they can grow in grace and become more like Him.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
2 An overseer, then, must be… 3 not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle
Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ
26 Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger
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