Remind the people . . . to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.
Gentleness is probably the least-talked-about fruit of the Spirit. And even though it is often overlooked, it is one of the most important character traits of people who live by the Spirit. In the Bible, gentleness is also called meekness, and it is a prominent virtue in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Jesus teaches us, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).
Our world today does not value gentleness. Instead we are loud, boisterous, rowdy, showy, obnoxious, and pushy. One commentator described our culture in North America as “restless, rootless, and ruthless.” Gentleness is the opposite of these. Gentle folks are not restless but calm and composed, not rootless but stable, not ruthless but respectful. Biblical synonyms for the word gentle include humble, meek, considerate, courteous, respectful, and noble.
We tend to categorize gentle people as wimps. But gentleness is actually the result of bringing great strength under control. In a biblical sense, the strongest people are those who dare to be gentle. And the best example to guide us is Jesus.
Jesus calls out, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29). To be gentle or meek is to be God-molded, Christ-shaped, and Holy Spirit-directed. Ask the Spirit for an extra measure of gentleness today.
Forgive us, Lord, for associating gentleness with weakness. May we as Christians take the lead in being gentle toward everyone. Amen.