Gentleness – One of 9 Fruits of the Spirit

Gentleness

Gentleness in Action

I have seen ranchers gently and tenderly bandage their horse’s leg because their horse indicated they were struggling after stepping into a hole in the ground.

I have seen small children gently holding their new baby brother or sister after being birthed.

I have seen young children gently holding baby chicks and baby rabbits in early spring.

Gentleness is all around us.

Gentleness Defined

Gentleness is known through tenderness, softness of manners, sweetness of disposition and mildness of temper. Gentleness is kind and benevolent [possessing love to mankind] acts. [Webster]

Gentleness is a humble non-threatening demeanor that derives from [connecting] strength and authority, and is useful in calming another’s anger. Gentleness is not a quality that is weak and passive. [Rose 21]

Foundational Thoughts on Gentleness

“Gentleness in conduct and life. True followers of the Gospel must not be sharp and bitter, but gentle, mild, courteous, and soft-spoken, which [will] encourage others to seek their company. Gentleness can get along with forward and difficult persons.”

“Such a gentle person was our Savior Jesus Christ, as the Gospel portrays Him. Of Peter it is recorded that he wept whenever he remembered the sweet gentleness of Christ in His daily contact with people. Gentleness is an excellent virtue and very useful in every walk of life.” [Luther 166]

Better translated ‘meekness.’ It is a humble and gentle attitude that is patiently submissive in every offense, while having no desire for revenge or retribution. In the New Testament, it is used to describe three attitudes: submission to the will of God (Colossians 3:12), teachability (James 1:21), and consideration of others (Ephesians 4:2). [MacArthur 1676]

Paul highlights the need to restore the wayward brother ‘with a gentle spirit’ (Galatians 6:1). He urges Timothy to deal with his opponents gently in order that they may repent (2 Timothy 2:25). Jesus, the gentle Savior, invites the weary to come and rest in Him (Matthew 11:29). Pastors are to imitate Jesus in displaying a life of gentleness and meekness, not violence (1 Timothy 3:3). [Platt 2270]

Gentleness, such a sweetness of temper, and especially towards our inferiors, as disposes us to be [mild, inviting] and courteous, and easy to be entreated when any have wronged us. [Henry]

The Holy Spirit produces one kind of fruit, that is, Christlikeness. All the virtues now listed describe the life of the child of God. Gentleness is taking the lowly place as Jesus did when He washed His disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17). [MacDonald 1924]

Gentleness in the Word

“You have also given me the shield of Your salvation. Your gentleness has made me great.” (2 Samuel 22:36 WEB)

“You have also given me the shield of Your salvation. Your right hand sustains me. Your gentleness has made me great.” (Psalm 18:35 WEB)

“Yes also when the fool walks by the way, his understanding fails him, and he says to everyone that he is a fool. If the spirit of the ruler rises up against you, don’t leave your place; for gentleness lays great offenses to rest.” (Ecclesiastes 10:3-4 WEB)

Walking in Gentleness

“Brothers, even if a man is caught in some fault, you who are spiritual must restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to yourself so that you also aren’t tempted.” (Galatians 6:1 WEB)

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, man of God, flee these things, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.” (1 Timothy 6:10-11 WEB)

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show his good conduct that his deeds are done in gentleness of wisdom.” (James 3:13 WEB)

“Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.” (Philippians 4:5 WEB)

Gentleness Quotes

Gentleness is strength under control. It is the ability to stay calm, no matter what happens. ~Elizabeth George

Our identity rests in God’s relentless tenderness [gentleness] for us revealed in Jesus Christ. ~Brennan Manning

I choose gentleness…Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself. ~Max Lucado

Be kind to each other. It is better to commit faults with gentleness that to work miracles with unkindness. ~Mother Teresa

Gentleness is not apathy but is an aggressive expression of how we view people. We see people as so valuable that we deal with them in gentleness, fearing the slightest damage to one for whom Christ died. To truly love people [requires] us to be aggressively gentle. ~Gayle D. Erwin

A gentle word, a kind look, a good-natured smile can work wonders and accomplish miracles. ~William Hazlitt

Gentleness is the ability to bear reproaches and slights with moderation, and not to embark on revenge quickly, and not to be easily provoked to anger, but be free from bitterness and contentiousness, having tranquility and stability in the spirit. ~Aristotle

It’s so easy to laugh, it’s so easy to hate, it takes guts to be gentle and kind. ~Steven Morrissey

Joy cannot be pursued. It comes from within. It is a state of being. It does not depend on circumstances, but triumphs over circumstances. It produces a gentleness of spirit and a magnetic personality. ~Billy Graham

Considerations and Prayers for Gentleness

Let us consider this statement by Max Lucado, “I choose gentleness…I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.”

And let us agree with Martin Luther’s prayer, “Lord, grant that anger or other bitterness does not reign over us, but that Your grace, genuine kindness, loyalty, and every kind of friendliness, generosity, and gentleness may reign over us. Amen.”

Recommendations

We are encouraged to live our life in Christ and to ‘put on’ or to ‘clothe ourselves’ with gentleness https://strengthwithdignity.com/gentleness-one-of-8-garments-to-wear/

Scriptures

2 Samuel 22:36; Psalm 18:35; Ecclesiastes 10:3-4; Galatians 6:1; Philippians 4:5; 1 Timothy 6:10-11; James 3:13

References

Luther, Martin. Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians. Written in 1535 in Latin. Translated by Theodore Graebner. This book is in the public domain. The Kindle edition was published March 24, 2011.

MacDonald, William. The Believer’s Bible Commentary. Thomas Nelson, 2016, pages 1920-1927.

Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible. [MH] Originally written in 1706. Kindle Edition published November 7, 2010.

New American Standard Bible. Copyright 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.

Platt, David and Tony Merida. Christ-Centered Exposition – Exalting Jesus in Galatians. Published by B&H Publishing Group, 2014. [Kindle Edition]

Quotes retrieved September 9, 2021 from https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/gentleness and https://www.azquotes.com/quotes/topics/gentleness.html

The Fruit of the Spirit. Rose Publishing, 2004. [Updated April 2018] [Kindle Edition]

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. Retrieved September 9, 2021, from http://webstersdictionary1828.com/

World English Bible (WEB) by Public Domain. The name “World English Bible” is trademarked.

Bible Scriptures were retrieved September 9, 2021 from https://www.biblegateway.com #bgbg2 #BibleGateway #BibleStudy

 

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8 thoughts on “Gentleness – One of 9 Fruits of the Spirit”

  1. Lisa, great post on gentleness! I keep thinking of my daughter teaching her 2 year old to be “gentle” with things (like their cat & breakables). My daughter has a very gentle disposition, especially with people. I am pretty sure she did not get it from me. I love your description of Jesus and his gentle interactions with people. I know that is always what draws me to Him, especially when I fail. If only I would extend that grace to others more often!

    1. What a beautiful picture of your daughter, Donna! Yes, the teaching of gentleness easily comes through our tongues with little ones, yet the application of gentleness is difficult to come through our tongues with our peers. May the Lord continue to transform us into His image and reflect gentleness through us to others.

  2. I think of gentleness as the forgotten fruit. I don’t know how we miss in Scripture–you’ve provided a number of places to show it’s all through the Bible. May God revive our hearts in this and every area.

    1. It does seem to be the forgotten fruit, Barbara. I think we still find it among mothers and babies, but it does need to expand to our other relationships.

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