Nearing the end of this series we come to a manifestation of God’s Spirit that is vitally important. So often I encounter people who are not merely assertive but aggressive, predominantly coarse rather than tender, eager to expound their opinions and knowledge rather than reserved and reflective. In fact, the things I just described are true of me every day! And so…
“The fruit of the Spirit is gentleness.”
Gentleness can be likened to being mild mannered, having a calmness of spirit, softness in speech, or meekness of heart. It is the absence of harshness or cruelty or behavior that frightens or alarms the senses.
- Gentleness is the very quality of Christ in which every believer is invited to share. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle.” (Mt 11:29).
- Gentleness of God’s Spirit is the tone from which erring believers are to be restored to fellowship with God. “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently” (Gal 6:1; see also 2 Cor. 10:1).
- The Spirit’s gentleness is not reserved for mature believers only, but must be evident in all believers, however small or great. “Be completely humble and gentle” (Eph 4:2). “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.” (NIV 2011, Tit 3:1–2).
- Gentleness is the manner in which arguments are confronted. “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim 2:24–25; see also Prov 15:1).