Gentleness is a Fruit of the Spirit, according to the biblical book of Galatians.
The simplest way I can come up with to describe what the ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ means is the way your life changes by being a Christian and having the Holy Spirit walking with you and helping you grow to be more like Christ.
So, are Christians known for their gentleness?
I suspect that generally, to people outside of the Church, they’re not.
Many of us in the Church may think differently and I can personally testify that I know a lot of people who display gentleness – but too many of us display it at all the wrong times.
Where is the gentleness in the way that we people who commit our favorite ‘worst sins’?
I don’t see the Church out there in the world gently loving people but rather I see it attacking and protesting.
Jesus demonstrated to us how to be firm and uncompromising yet loving and gentle with people (see the woman at the well, for example) and when it’s appropriate to be less gentle and soft (for example, when he called the pharisees a ‘brood of vipers‘).
Somehow though, we just don’t seem to know how to exercise the right gentleness at the right time. When a Christian leader falls into sin (and out of favor) we are all to quick to jump on them and tear them apart ignoring the gentleness of spirit which should temper our reactions. Then at other times, for example when someone feels convicted about their walk with Christ (see my post from yesterday and the telling comments by Vanity of Vanities) we are often too gentle and try to sugar-coat the situation. Instead of helping them explore what they are feeling and hearing, we gently coddle them back down into apathy with the rest of us.
We should be known as gentle people. It should be easy to spot the Christians in any workplace, group or community because of the fruit of the Spirit in their lives but, sadly, that’s often not the case.
Today I want to implore you (and me) to learn to use gentleness more, and in the right ways.
It’s not optional.
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.