We are continuing our study on the Fruits of the Spirit. We have one more month after this. How are you doing? It’s been challenging for me. This will be something I will have to continue to work on.
Today we are looking at gentleness. Wikipedia says this about gentleness, “Gentleness is a strong hand with a soft touch. It is a tender, compassionate approach toward others’ weaknesses and limitations. A gentle person still speaks the truth, sometimes even painful truth, but in doing so guards his tone so the truth can be well received.” It also describes it as being kind and considerate.
I often think of times when Jesus had to be gentle as he taught his Disciple. The Passover meal that he shared with his Disciples was a teaching time. They were limited in their understanding of what he was telling them. He had to be gentle, tender, and compassionate as he spoke about the things that were going to happen to him. He had to speak the truth even though it was painful for them to hear. I am not sure though how well received the message was.
I think of the gentleness of Jesus as he took the time to be with the little children. Matthew 19:13-15 tells us this, “Then the little children were brought to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them and pray for them; and the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them! For the kingdom of heaven” belongs to such as these. And after He had placed His hands on them, He went on from there.…” I can see Jesus being compassionate and gentle as he said to His Disciples do not hinder them.
Jesus showing gentleness is throughout the Bible. I think about the woman who touched Jesus’s robe and he asking who had touched him. I think he was gentle as he asked the question. He showed compassion toward the one who had touched him.
What does being gentle mean for us today? I think for me it’s about being compassionate about something yet not be so overbearing that the message doesn’t get out. I think it’s about being tender toward others and still speaking the truth. I think it is about knowing the limitations of those whom you are talking with.
The people I deal with everyday need me to be gentle with them as I share the good news Christ has for each of us. I need to understand the limitations they may have and realize I can only take baby steps with them. I can’t give them the whole doctrine all at once. It’s more about showing gentleness and compassion and allowing God to speak the truth through me.
For me the quality of an excellent leader is gentleness. I want a leader that is gentle, yet compassionate about the work they are doing, but at the same time keep everyone on the same page. I think a leader is one who knows the weaknesses and the limitations of those he/she works with. I want a leader that may have a painful message for me, but brings it to me in a kind, tender and gentle way; not one that will tear me down, but will lift me up.
How many of us would follow Christ if he never showed gentleness, or compassion or was tender? How many of us would follow Christ if all we got was praise from him? We all know dessert is great, but we need vegetables for nutrition. We don’t all like vegetables, but they are healthy for us. We need to hear criticism once in awhile so we can grow in our relationship with Him.
We all know screaming and yelling at our kids when they mess up does not always produce the results we want. It’s when we sit down with them and talk with them in a gentle manner showing compassion and tenderness that we often get the results we were looking for. We need to understand the limitations and the weaknesses our children have and work with them in the way that’s best for them.
That’s the way it is with God. I have never heard God scream or yell at me. Instead, I have felt tenderness and gentleness as he quietly and with great compassion lets me know I am headed in the wrong direction. Just like the Disciples sometimes I have gotten the message other times I have not. He just gently continues to work with me until I do get the message right.
If you are being ripped apart, if you don’t feel the compassion or are being torn down I would venture to say you are not hearing that from God. That is Satan that is presenting himself. God is not a God that will destroy us; he only builds us up.
Just as God is gentle with us we need to be gentle with others. God was a compassionate God; we need to show compassionate toward others. God knows our limitations and never asks more than we are capable of doing. We need to know the limitations of those around us. God knows our weaknesses and he will never put us in a situation that will allow us to be defeated or brought down. We are called not to bring down others, but to know their weaknesses and not ask them to do more than they are capable of. Christ wants us to succeed; we need to help others succeed.
To follow God is to be a person who is gentle in all our ways, compassionate and tender, yet can still get God’s message across in a loving way.
Let’s work together this month and let our gentleness show. Find times when Christ showed his gentleness toward you and allow those times to be stepping stones for others.
Dear Lord, help us to be gentle with one another. Teach us about compassion and tenderness. Help me not to point out others limitations or weaknesses, but to be aware of them so I can help them to succeed. Thank you for being gentle with me as you correct me and put me on the right path. I love you God and thank you for being in my life everyday. Amen