But the fruit of the Spirit is…gentleness. – Galatians 5:22-23
Scripture reading: Isaiah 40
George Bethune once said, “Perhaps no grace is less prayed for, or less cultivated than gentleness…seldom do we reflect that not to be gentle is sin.” When is the last time you prayed for more gentleness? When is the last time you repented of not being gentle?
But what is gentleness? It’s not shyness, timidity or fearfulness. A lot of people think of it in those terms and view it as a weakness. R.C Sproul rightly points out, “Gentleness does not preclude the possibility of strength but presupposes it.” Gentleness is power under self-control. Jerry Bridges notes that “Gentleness is illustrated by the way we would handle a carton of exquisite crystal glasses: it is the recognition that the human personality is valuable but fragile and must be handled with care.” The opposite of gentleness is abrasiveness and arrogance.
We see in Isaiah 40 that God is both the all-powerful God Who created and sustains the world and the God Who speaks tenderly to His people (40:1-2). “He will tend his flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs in his arms; He will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young” (40:11). The Psalmist declares, “Your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great.” The best teachers have a good balance of power and gentleness, toughness and tenderness. This is why Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, is the greatest teacher of all!
Suggestions for prayer
Confess your sins of not being gentle in your thoughts, words and deeds. Pray for the Spirit to work Christ-like gentleness in you towards others.