Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness

God’s Gentle Grace

Paul, in his letters, continually reminded followers that we are heirs of God’s grace, and because of that inheritance, we are to, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,” (Colossians 3:12) and “to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” (Titus 3:2)

© Susan Irene Fox

© Susan Irene Fox

James, the younger brother of Jesus knew about gentleness, but only after his older brother died for his sins. The Bible tells us that Jesus came to visit him upon his return (1 Corinthians 15:7). What a conversation that must have been; forgiving and loving enough to place James in the room with the disciples when the Holy Spirit came upon them all. And James learned an incredible lesson which served as the foundation for the remainder of his life.

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. (James 3:17)

~~~

Gentleness

by Anne-Marie Hurley

 Help us to speak from a spirit of kindness

When woe’s words seek to hurt to the core,

Help us to see that those who are hurting

Try their best to hurt more.

Help us to know that empathy helps

When others are struggling to find

Hope in their lives, some sense of certainty

Some salve for a more peaceful mind.

Give us a reason to see past the bitter,

A more loving heart to reveal

A measure of more understanding

Till others around us may heal.

Help us, please, Spirit so loving,

So generous with all you bestow,

Help us to love more fully our Lord

And others around us to know

That all we desire is found in one God

Made manifest in His plan,

To love with all gentleness brothers, sisters around.

Simply to love God and Man.

~~~

James warned us to refrain from speaking against our brothers and sisters, from discouraging or shaming anyone. He asked us to tame the tongue. “It is a restless evil full of deadly poison. With it, we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, these things ought not to be so.” (James 3:8-10)

Being gentle, or meek, is not being weak. It is having a controlled strength, a willingness to put others first, an outward humility toward others.

I believe with all my heart this is what Jesus was telling us when he summed up all the law and words of the prophets in the two commands, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

I believe this is what Jesus meant when he said, “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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30)

To speak with kindness and compassion.

To give hope and encouragement.

To love with all gentleness.

To be filled with God’s gentle wisdom and mercy.

To pass on the gentle and humble heart of Jesus.

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3

Gentleness copyright 2014 Anne-Marie Hurley, who blogs at Scottishmomus http://scottishmomus.wordpress.com. She is mother to 7, wife of 26 years, sister, aunt, godparent, daughter, friend, teacher and a poet who sets words to the music of your heart.

Her prose is on anything that she sets her mind to: parenting, politics or humor, and her musings are above the cut. She’s rarely bereft of an opinion, and will often lead you down the garden path with a glass of wry and Scottish.

This post can also be seen on Mind’s Seat, www.marmarthunder.wordpress.com

19 comments

  1. Such a good point that being gentle doesn’t mean being weak. There is indeed great strength in being gentle. Lovely, gentle as is this post and your writing, yet with a very strong message. Lovely poem too. Thank you Susan for sharing, as always, the heart of Jesus through your words 🙂

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  2. excellent post….I have to be reminded of the fruits of the spirit and start a daily check list to see if I am using what has been given to me. It is difficult in this earthly body without them.

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    1. Difficult, if not impossible! I ask the Spirit almost daily to help me practice, embody and produce His fruit – otherwise, I know I’m more apt to be impatient, harsh, depressed, etc… Can’t do this alone, sister – never could.

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  3. I am all for gentleness. The problem I see is that people pick and choose where and how they apply this concept. People who eat animals from factory farms or who excoriate categories of other people, then turn around and espouse gentleness and kindness. To me that is self-deceit. If we are gentle in the sense that Christ was gentle, we will apply it in all areas of human action and thought. Not just those we find easy or suit our ideologies. I am glad you raised this issue, Susan.

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    1. Your absolutely right, Beth. I have had to temper my own exhortations over the years, and do my best to see everyone and everything through the Creator’s eyes. I still stumble at times, but it’s so important we all need to remind ourselves daily – sometimes hourly.

      And it’s not just categories of people, but individuals – we must also be gentle with and offer grace to those individuals in our lives with whom we feel angry, disappointed, frustrated. That is most difficult, I think.

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  4. This is beautiful, an apt word that encouraged my hurting heart tonight. Your best!

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    1. So glad, Joan. We never know where or when a soothing word will come. Bless you.

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  5. Reblogged this on scottishmomus and commented:
    Susan invited me some time ago to take part in a series she was writing on the fruits of the spirit. Here is gentleness. The whole series is available at Susan’s blog.

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    1. Thank you. 🙂

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  6. Written beautifully and with love as always, Susan. Thank you for allowing me to take part in this series of spiritual fruits. They have been filled with all of the gifts of spirit.x

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    1. Your contribution really said it all, my friend. I just simply wrote around it. Bless you.

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  7. Dave Burns · ·

    Reblogged this on Uncarvedbooks.

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  8. When we are not gentle, what we actually express are our own inner fears, imperfections, and demons, at the risk of hurting others in the process.

    Lovely post, Susan.

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    1. You’re so right, Nav. It’s important to remember that underneath that “ungentleness” is usually deep hurt that comes out as harshness of some kind.

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      1. This is where one adhering to the gentleness doctrine can see more deeply and forgive those who are hurtful. The old “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me” rhyme that my mother taught me.

        I suspect there is also a reverse (or two-way) cause and effect process at play. By disciplining ourselves to sincerely embrace gentleness, we tame our own inner pains by soothing them. By practicing gentleness, we move closer toward inner peace.

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      2. Although the old adage has never quite been true, it is by praying to see the ones who throw the sticks and stones & call the names through the eyes of our common Creator that allows the gentle to move toward forgiveness and healing. The discipline is rarely accomplished through self will. At least for me.

        Your comments are always so thoughtful, and allow me to delve further into the topic at hand. Thank you.

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