As I reflect on the fruit of the spirit gentleness, the first person that came to my mind as a true example of a gentle spirit is my dad.
A hero to me.
Not a giant... Giants are unreachable. Not perfect... Perfect is unattainable. A hero. A faithful man. A kind soul. A man with eyes that sparkled with mischief, compassion, empathy, and gentleness.
A loving, gentle hero.
I am guessing most people, especially men, don’t necessarily celebrate having a characteristic of being gentle. The quality of being kind, tender, or mild-mannered doesn’t fit with the typical label we try to put on men.
I also think through the years we have discouraged women from being gentle, in particular in the business world. I personally have witnessed women who change who they are made to be in order to compete for various positions within organizations or to feel like they are being heard.
Paul and Peter modeled how to lead with a strong personality. They left us wise advice on living as passionate, gentle, strong leaders:
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Colossians 3:12 (NIV)
A gentle person intentionally cares about how he or she interacts with others.
A gentle person exhibits kindness, a tenderness driven by compassion, and chooses restraint. Although a gentle person has the power to use his or her strength of character, physical strength, emotion, or personality to its fullest, he or she chooses to keep it under control.
Exhibiting the fruits of the spirit takes being intentional!
When faced with a difficult situation, our first reaction isn’t always love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness or self-control.
So, how do we choose one of those fruits, especially when faced with difficulty?
First, we must accept Jesus into our heart.
It is only through the work of the Holy Spirit within us that we can make the choice to live with these characteristics. With Jesus living inside us, we feel His peace inside our very souls:
"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 (NIV)
Then I have to check my own heart.
Whatever my motive is, my actions will follow. If my motive is one of compassion, kindness, and gentleness, that will be my actions. If my motive is control, winning, and being right, that will be my actions.
It is our choice!
Who comes to your mind when you think about gentleness? What characteristics did they exhibit that made you think of them?
Use that person as a model to help you choose gentleness.
With love and joy,